While Sauvignon Blanc is New Zealand’s calling card, it’s clear that New Zealand produces a diverse range of grape varieties and wine styles. In fact, on the North Island its Chardonnay which has reached full potential for white varieties with some outstanding examples being produced from Auckland to Martinborough.
At the 2022 Decanter World Wine Awards, ‘there were high expectations for the Chardonnay category’ commented Cameron Douglas MS, Regional Chair for New Zealand, and ‘Chardonnay from New Zealand has without doubt earned its place in the wine cellars of Decanter readers’ he continued.
Two Chardonnay wines from the North Island’s Hawke’s Bay were awarded 97 points; the judges noting the painstaking work of the region’s winegrowers who are continuing to push the quality of Chardonnay to ever-higher levels. Best in Show medal winner Church Road, Grand Reserve Chardonnay 2020 was described as a wine giving ‘a memorable classicism, Burgundy-lovers might note’ and Platinum medal winner Villa Maria, Keltern Chardonnay 2020 showing a more opulent and textured style of this variety.
Scroll down to see New Zealand’s top North Island wines from DWWA 2022
Top-scoring wines from New Zealand’s North Island only begin with Chardonnay. The island’s red wines saw some outstanding results too with Syrah and Pinot Noir well worth noting.
Again with two 97 point wines for its reds, Craggy Range was awarded a spot in the competition’s top 50 wines for its 2020 Syrah from Gimblett Gravels, Hawke’s Bay and Palliser Estate a Platinum medal for its 2019 Hua Nui Vineyard Pinot Noir from Martinborough, Wairarapa. Hawke’s Bay received a further four Gold medals for its red wines and Wairarapa three, all receiving 95-96 points.
Bringing together some of the best wine experts from across the globe to judge at the competition, Cameron Douglas adds:
I would describe the Decanter World Wine Awards as a competition and an event that is the pinnacle of the world wine game. In retail, in restaurants, for the individual who wants to find something particular in a wine store, those little stickers on those bottles mean a global reaction to wine, not just an individual, smaller competition that’s regional-based. The significance of a Decanter sticker on a bottle has weight and power and integrity. In New Zealand we call that Mana. What that means is respect.
As represented below, Hawke’s Bay and Wairarapa wines represent the total of top-awarded wines from the North Island at DWWA 2022, but look out too for wines from some of the island’s other winegrowing regions including Northland, Auckland, Bay of Plenty and Gisborne.
Discover the 18 North Island wines which impressed the judges most at the 2022 competition…
New Zealand: Top-scoring North Island wines to try
Church Road, Grand Reserve Chardonnay 2020
Best in Show, 97 points
With two wines in this year’s Best In Show selection, Hawkes’s Bay has excelled – and our judges, too, were particularly happy that the North Island winegrowers’ slow, painstaking work teasing Chardonnay levels ever higher are patently paying off. This outstanding wine has a bright gold colour with faint lime glints. Freshness and richness are beautifully paired in the aromas — to an extent which is perhaps only possible south of the equator in New Zealand. That gives this wine a memorable classicism, Burgundy-lovers might note. In the mouth, it is concentrated and confident, once again striding down that line between the fresh and the rich to vivacious effect. No hurry to drink: a year or two’s cellar softening will bring great benefits here. Alcohol 13.5%
Villa Maria, Keltern Chardonnay 2020
Platinum, 97 points
Prominent oak spices on the nose, showing vanilla and toast with notes of ripe citrus and stone fruit. Opulent on the palate, creamy and full-bodied, very well textured, in harmony with a beautiful crisp acidity. Alc 14%
Esk Valley, Seabed…
Source : https://www.decanter.com/decanter-world-wine-awards/new-zealand-top-20-white-wines-of-dwwa-2020-453125/