Having tasted and reviewed around 2,000 wines in my first year of operating Raymond Chan Wine Reviews, it is only fitting to recognise the best performers in the New Zealand wine industry who have come my way. I have introduced the ‘Winery of the Year’ award to be presented to the producer who has submitted the best selection of wines in the year to the end of November for ‘Feature Reviews’. (I exclude wineries that are distributed by ‘Wine2Trade’, the company that Raymond Chan Wine Reviews operates under.) The award winner will be announced early December each year, and a commemorative engraved plaque sent to the nominated wine producer. Wines submitted in December will qualify for the award in the following year.
Several other producers were in contention for ‘Winery of the Year’ and I list them according to region. Based in Auckland, but sourcing fruit from different regions, Villa Maria submitted wines that were all 5 star. Kumeu River released three stunning single-vineyard 2009 Chardonnays. From Martinborough, Larry’ McKenna’s Escarpment ‘Insight’ single vineyard 2009 Pinot Noirs were among the most highly rated for that variety for the year. The flagship 2009 ‘Craighall’ Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Ata Rangi also impressed to a similar degree. Neudorf was the clear standout from the Nelson region, every wine a winner. And Marlborough is extremely exciting with many producers submitting top quality wines. This year, the decadent Greywacke wines of Kevin Judd, the astoundingly broad ranged and excellent wines from Saint Clair, the wonderfully precise aromatic whites from Spy Valley, and the Pinot Noirs from TerraVin stood out for me. The aromatic and pure whites from Greystone in the Waipara Valley were something special to behold. From Otago, the terroir-expressive Valli wines of Grant Taylor and the clearly defined three single-vineyard Bannockburn Pinot Noirs from Matt Dicey of Mt Difficulty made their producers strong contenders for the title.
- No. 1 Family Estate ‘Reserve Cuvee No. 10′ Marlborough Methode Traditionnelle NV (19.5/20)
- Tohu ‘Mugwi Reserve’ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2009 (19.5/20)
- Greystone ‘Feather Star’ Waipara Valley Riesling 2011 (19.0-/20)
- Ostler ‘Audrey’s’ Waitaki Valley Pinot Gris 2010 (19.0-/20)
- Dry River ‘Lovat’ Martinborough Gewurztraminer 2010 (19.5-/20)
- Villa Maria ‘Single Vineyard Keltern’ Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2010 (19.5+/20)
- Framingham ‘F-Series’ Marlborough Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese 2011 (20.0/20)
- Esk Valley Hawke’s Bay Merlot/Malbec Rosé 2011 (18.5/20)
- Neudorf ‘Home Vineyard’ Moutere Nelson Pinot Noir 2009 (19.5/20)
- Craggy Range ‘Le Sol’ Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2009 (19.5+/20)
- Mission ‘Huchet’ Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2007 (19.5+/20)
- Craggy Range ‘Sophia’ Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Merlot/Cabernet 2009 (20.0/20)
- Kidnapper Cliffs Hawke’s Bay Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (20.0/20)