Cuisine Wine

NZ & International Other Whites Tasting results

18 February 2024 (Cuisine magazine Issue 222)

MARY-THÉRÈSE BLAIR finds a wonderfully varied playlist emerging from the ‘other whites’ tasting.

I’m constantly telling people that judging wine is difficult but, let me tell you, they’re not buying what I’m selling. No wine lover I’ve met can conceive of the notion that spending all day in a room full of wine is tough. Assessing, however, is quite different to drinking. Focus and concentration is required to evaluate wine. To ascertain if a wine is flawed, if it is typical of its varietal and to define its quality, is hard work. It’s challenging enough if you have a lineup of the same type of wine, so imagine if all the wines are different. Your brain needs to change gear after each glass, recalibrating and recalling knowledge. This ‘other whites’ category throws up that very challenge, but we are fortunate at Cuisine to have a head judge who sees this as an exciting opportunity – a chance to remind readers of the endless possibilities that glorious vitus vinifera gives and just how vast the world of wine really is.

top NZ & International Other Whites

Mount Riley Marlborough Albariño 2023

I was nothing short of giddy when an albariño took the top spot among myriad other contenders. I have a passion for albariño and it’s exciting to see this category grow in New Zealand. My hope is that one day, hopefully in the not too distant future, we will have so many albariño entries it will be deserving of its own category. Watch this space!

As a new-world wine country, we are still learning what grows well here. While we’ve hit the jackpot with sauvignon blanc, which is phenomenally popular globally, trends are fickle and it’s always prudent not to keep all one’s grapes in one basket. So we must always look to what could be the next big thing and albariño could be it. While it shares as high an acid profile as sauvignon, it lacks the greenness that can make sauvignon blanc divisive. Instead, the experience is that of bright, fresh citrus and positively mouthwatering salinity that can only make us dream of hot summer days in Galicia in north- west Spain, from where the grape hails.

Luckily albariño grows well here and we are seeing some fantastic examples coming from all over New Zealand. Case in point, this stunning example from Marlborough is rich and inviting on the nose with layers of ripe citrus, green peaches and white blossoms. The palate is bright and precise with wonderful texture, stunning salinity and incredible length of flavour that is driven through the palate by the focussed and steely acid spine.

| $15
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Star ratings for this tasting

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  • Outstanding 9
  • Excellent 4
  • Very Good 22
  • Good 25
  • No Award 11
  • Total Entries 71