Cuisine wine tasting results
Cuisine wine tastings take place 6 times annually, judging a different set of wine varietals in each tasting. The results are published here bi-monthly coinciding with each issue of Cuisine magazine. We hope our star ratings and tasting notes will help wine lovers discover and enjoy new wines.
New Zealand's superstars hold their own against the rest of the world, says MARY-THERESE BLAIR.
THIS YEAR’S BORDEAUX tasting saw a spectacular selection of international wines entered together with the home-grown options that allowed for an even greater forum to explore and understand all that is great about Bordeaux-style blends and the varieties that, as well as being part of a blend, stand up in their own right. Head judge Ben Glover described the wines presented as “masterful”, reflecting on winemakers' ability to balance “the power and succulence of the tannins, fruit and oak” into one complete, and eminently drinkable, wine. While the top five features some wines from overseas, the majority are hometown superstars, showing, once again, our ability to create great wine not just by local but international standards. Not too shabby a claim for new-world wine newbies when you consider the style seeks to emulate the great wines of Bordeaux, France, where the first vines were planted approximately two thousand years ago.
Think again about Australian shiraz, says MARY-THERESE BLAIR.
ONE OF THE VERY FIRST wine professionals I ever knew said to me, jokingly, that drinking Aussie shiraz was a bit like having a one night stand. It’s a bit crass, but ultimately you know what you’re getting yourself into, you have a bit of fun, but that’s not who you’re going to bring home to meet your mother. Syrah, however, was the long-term girlfriend who got to meet the family. In the past, overripe, jammy and hugely alcoholic were all hallmarks of hot climate Australian shiraz. But a new era in shiraz has dawned across the ditch. It’s time for us cool-climate-syrah-drinking Kiwis to stop looking down on shiraz and see how far it’s come and how remarkable it can be. This was certainly reflected in the masterful wines presented in this tasting. Bright, fragrant, exciting shiraz with vibrancy, complexity and nuance, and with the underlying power that only shiraz wields.
MARY-THERESE BLAIR cheers on Hawke’s Bay syrah.
HAWKE’S BAY proves once again that it is no flash in the pan when it comes to syrah dominance. Only one very notable exception – from the team at Giesen in Marlborough – stopped these results from being a North Island whitewash. Warren Gibson, Trinity Hill and Bilancia winemaker, commented, “I can honestly say I have not seen a collection of young red wines as strong as in 2018. Syrah is spicy, powerful and hugely aromatic through all tiers.” Clearly, the rest of the panel were inclined to agree.