Top White – Riesling


New Zealand Riesling has always been a favourite of mine; unfortunately, it's very over-shadowed by Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir, other more popular varieties. NZ offers an excellent climate for Riesling, especially the South Island, with long sunny days, cold nights and long, dry autumn for ripening.

Riesling has a wide scale of flavour from bone dry to lusciously sweet, can be made from clean fruit to late harvest or botrytis infected grapes to create sweet, dessert-style wines, so versatile that I can only think of endless food match! Bone dry style to match with raw or poached seafood; off-dry style with pulled-pork, crispy pork belly; medium-sweet style match with chicken liver parfait, bacon or Mutton Bird; late-harvest sweet wine with panna cotta, meringue; and botrytis infected with strong cheese and pan-seared foie gras. Who's hungry?

My selection of Top-rated Riesling below is arranged from dry to sweet. Butterworth's Dry Riesling is crisp and light full of bright citrus; Hawkshead Riesling has a complex range of flavours and excellent concentration. River T from the Waitaki shows delicate floral with a citrus, mineral background; Three Miners Herringbone Riesling from Alexandra has great energy and an apple, taut acid line. Pegasus Bay Bel Canto is a consistently outstanding Riesling, distinctive style, rich and complex, made with a portion of botrytised grapes, and their 'estate' Riesling is also always in a medium-dry style, well-balanced, precise and age-worthy. Micro-producer Mon Cheval in North Canterbury has an apple and chalky mineral expression and a long-lasting finish. Valli shows a sense of place brilliantly, and you can almost taste the limestone from Waitaki Valley, vibrant and well-balanced. The last of the lineup is Carrick, a medium-sweet style with mouth-filling with fleshy fruit and excellent sugar and acid balance.

If you are keen to taste them all or ready to be convinced that Riesling is absolutely fantastic, please join me in Queenstown or Wellington tasting event. Ticket links below.

Queenstown 25 Jan - https://www.eventbrite.co.nz/e/237150442357

Wellington 27 Jan - https://www.eventbrite.co.nz/e/236602222617

*Use the code "TOPWHITE" on the below websites to apply a discount to buy direct.

Carrick - 10%

River T - 15%

Mon Cheval - 10%

Butterworth - 10%


  • Butterworth Te Muna Dry Riesling 2021, Martinborough
  • Hawkshead Riesling 2021, Central Otago
  • River T Riesling 2019, Waitaki Valley
  • Three Miners Herringbone Riesling 2021, Central Otago
  • Pegasus Bay Reserve Bel Canto Dry Riesling 2020, North Canterbury
  • Mon Cheval Dry Riesling 2019, North Canterbury
  • Valli Waitaki Vineyard Riesling 2020, North Otago
  • Pegasus Bay Riesling 2019, North Canterbury
  • Carrick Organic Josephine Riesling 2020, Central Otago

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