New Zealand's best sparkling wines
Is New Zealand the best sparkling wine producer in the "New World"? Based on Cuisine's tastings of sparkling wines over the years it may well be so. We've seen a steady rate of improvement and it hasn't been limited only to high-priced products. In the latest tasting, all the five and four-and-a-half star wines were from NZ, and so were 12 out of 19 four star wines – many of which were also Best Buys.
The desire for quality, the improvement in know-how, the maturing of vineyards, and the drive to over-deliver in a competitive environment have all combined to feed an ever-improving range of bubblies that impress Cuisine panellists year-in, year-out. "In the category of sparkling wine, not only is buying local a way of supporting local industry, it is quite simply a smart decision," said panel chair John Belsham.
Superiority of the classic grape varieties – chardonnay, pinot noir and, to a lesser extent, pinot meunier – used to make the greatest sparkling wines across the world was readily apparent in the tasting. Of the 26 wines to achieve Cuisine ratings of four stars or more, these "Champagne varieties", alone or in various combinations, were the main components of 22. Additionally, of the wines scoring four-and-a-half and five stars, all were made according to the methode traditionnelle that was once known as the Champagne method. "The methode traditionnelle wines shone brightly," said panel member Steve Voysey. "They all ticked the complexity, freshness and elegance boxes beautifully." This labour-intensive process is practised with consummate skill by the fizz-makers of New Zealand.
Marlborough continues to be the home of New Zealand sparkling wine, but other fine examples came from Central Otago, Gisborne and Hawke's Bay. New Zealand looks set to become the southern hemisphere's finest source of fizz, and that's something we should all rejoice about, preferably with the popping of a cork. For full results and tasting notes, visit http://www.cuisinewine.co.nz/cuisine-tasting/sparkling-2015/
CUISINE'S TOP FIVE SPARKLING WINES
1 Hunter's MiruMiru™ Reserve 2010 (Marlborough, NZ) five stars $39
2 Forrest Brigid Methode Traditionnelle 2010 (Marlborough, NZ) five stars $45
3 Deutz Marlborough Cuvée Brut NVfive stars $26.60
4 Akarua Rosé Brut NV (Central Otago, NZ) five stars $35.90
5 Nautilus Estate Vintage Rosé 2012 (Marlborough, NZ) five stars $49