Cloudy Bay Vines
Eat & Drink

10 Must-Try Marlborough Wines

Marlborough Wine Region

A Villa Maria vineyard (taken on a Nikon J3 using the panoramic setting).

Fun fact: New Zealand’s Marlborough region produces more than a whopping 75% of all New Zealand wine. Whether you’re a die-hard wine aficionado or just a casual fan, there’s a lot to love about Marlborough Wines. As we head into the party season and you’re going to be standing in many a bottle shop wondering what to take to yet another soiree, here’s our list of must-try Marlborough wines.

  1. Daniel Le Brun – Brut NV. Recommended retail price (RRP) $29.99 NZD.
    They say – “Fine, elegant wine with appealing nuttiness, plenty of yeast autolysis character and an ethereal texture. Bone dry with fine acidity.” – Bob Campbell
    We say – Try scoffing it with seafood at all your upcoming warm weather functions. Found it at a bargain? Buy up… this baby will keep well for the next 5 – 7 years.
  2. Brancott Estate – Flight Riesling 2013. RRP $26.99 NZD.
    They say – “Bright, pale staw-yellow with some green hues, lighter on rim. The bouquet of soft and fresh with elegant aromas of lime fruit, apples, fresh herbs and exotic florals. Medium dry to medium in taste and light-bodied, gentle and near ethereal flavours of limes and flowers are lifted with exotic fruits and esters.” – Raymond Chan
    We say – Alright, so technically this riesling is from Waipara not Marlborough but a little geographical detail hasn’t stopped Australians declaring New Zealanders as their own when it suits, so it seems fair to have an impostor on this list. This delectable little number is naturally lighter in alcohol but don’t let that fool you; it’s so light you could easily end up drinking more than you’d planned. We’d knock it back with rice paper rolls and papaya salad.
  3. Nautilus Estate – Grüner Veltliner 2012 or 2013. RRP $29.00 NZD.
    They say – “Only the second release and it’s really very good. Ripe melon, stone fruit, citus, spice and white pepper on the nose. Lovely bright, crisp fruit on the palate, again ripe melon, with pear, citrus and some spice and pepper.” – Noel Young Wines
    We say – Amongst our very favourites from our Marlborough excursion, this baby represents a new variety for New Zealand (it is widely considered to be Austria’s signature grape). Those in the know refer to it as gru-vee or just GV.
  4. Greywacke – Wild Sauvignon 2011. RRP $35.00 NZD.
    They say – “Delicious nose, lots of cream, lots of the wild, clove and earthy character that is so appealing. Bursts with flavour on the palate, fabulous punch and clarity, really tangy, the mango and nectarine ripeness quickly controlled by the cool, mineral acidity.” Tom Cannavan
    We say – An utterly delicious white that will have you wondering why you didn’t just buy the whole case. Wine person or not, even the least developed palates (like ours!) will know this creamy delight isn’t your average sauvignon blanc. Of course, let’s be fair… Cloudy Bay’s founding winemaker was never going to make anything average, was he?
  5. Number 1 Family Estate – Remy Cuvee 2007. RRP $55.00 NZD.
    They say – “Bone dry sparkler with strong citrus and subtle bready flavours. Assertive acidity promotes freshness and a drying finish.” – Bob Campbell
    We say – If you’re used to drinking delicate, light sparklings and want something different, give this a go. Bubbly yes, but this one has far more substance than you’ve probably come to expect.
  6. Dog Point – Chardonnay 2011. RRP $35.00 NZD.
    They say – “Bright straw-yellow colour with light lemon-gold hues, pale on edge. This has an elegant and refined nose of ripe stonefruits, citrus fruits and nuts, complexed by harmoniously interwoven flinty sulphide reductive notes and lifted by white florals.” – Raymond Chan
    We say – Hearty and oily are the two words that immediately spring to mind. This is one dividing beverage and was by far the most controversial wine during the 2013 Marlborough Wine Weekend. Seriously, wars have been started over less. If you want a to bring a talking point and not just a bottle to a party, this is the one you take.
  7. Nautilus Estate – Chardonnay 2012. RRP $34.00 NZD.
    They say – “Smack of oak when you first put your nose near it. As the wine breathes in the glass the oak settles in but you’ll get a good hit of it here. Butter and toast. Palate has an elegant persistence to it though. Citrus, apple and flint. Wild yeast fermented. Beautifully textural. Power, feel, length. Impressive in the bigger, oakier style.” – Campbell Mattinson
    We say – Exactly what you think of when you think of chardonnay – it’s almost like a red masquerading as a white. Big, full and classic.
  8. Spy Valley – Pinot Noir 2011. RRP $30 AUD.
    They say – “Bright, spiced cherry and red berry fruits on the nose, showing lovely clarity to their aromas. Shaped nicely on the palate with vivid fruit characters, spice, a touch of roast game and ripe, sandy tannins surrounded by a minerally acid line.” – Good Wine Guide
    We say – Bright is right! Spy Valley pinots of all vintages are marvellous and this is no exception. The point? If you’re a red drinker, you need Spy Valley in your life.
  9. Auntsfield – Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2011. RRP $39.99 NZD.
    They say – “The palate of this wine shows a rich silky texture which is full and concentrated. Interwoven flavours of spice, dark fruit and savoury characters are revealed by a succulent and fine tannin structure. The structure of this wine is tight, yet rich and full with seamless length.” – Tasting note. 
    We say – Yet another award-winner (sheesh, Marlborough sure has a lot right?), this pinot is not just scrumptious, it comes with a tale. The vineyard was planted on the original site of the first vineyard in Marlborough. The original cellar from 1873 is still there too, if you happen to be in the area.
  10. The Doctors’ – Riesling 2013 (won’t be on shelves until early next year but really, any year is marvellous). RRP $22.99 NZD.
    They say – “A versatile, well-crafted and refreshingly balanced off-dry riesing which presents fleshy peach and crunchy orange rind flavours on a long, textural finish. Zesty acidity and luscious sweetness find a natural balance, finishing tangy and fresh.” – Tyson Steltzer
    We say
    – There’s a reason previous vintages have been a sellout. We won’t spoil it for you, just try and get your hands on a bottle.
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