This year was a bumpy ride for the whole world, and it was no different for our New Zealand wine industry. With Level 4 lockdown coming into effect days before the 2020 harvest, winemakers and growers alike were thrown into disarray desperate to get their grapes pulled.
Fortunate enough for all of us, their heroic efforts and mad dash techniques have resulted in 2020 being one of the most unique vintages to have in your cellar, or in your afternoon!
Here is my list of must-taste 2020 wines to enjoy on your New Zealand holiday this summer!
Marlborough enjoyed another dry summer, which allowed the fruit to mature in almost perfect time, so when Covid came about the grapes were practically leaping into the harvest basket. This iconic Sav is bursting with the flavours of green grass, lime and passionfruit. Perfect for a summer’s day BBQ.
MATTS TOP TIP: Match with Barbequed King Salmon, Greenshell Mussels and an asparagus salad. New Zealand Summer 101!
Quite possibly Central Otago’s best-kept secret. Mt Rosa is a small and proudly unpretentious Vineyard. They let their wine do the talking, and this 2020 Rosé is an utter chatterbox! Handpicked from partly Pinot Noir and a 15th Century variety called Gamay Noir, combine into a pleasing yet slightly spiced Red Current & strawberry pallet.
MATTS TOP TIP: Gather the crew, your favourite summer nibbles, cheeses and chips and absorb the notes from this chatterbox!
Okay, so this isn’t officially a 2019/20 wine as it ferments over fourteen months, but the label says 2019, and that’s good enough for me…..and I’m guessing you too. Just say the words French Oak Barrels and I’m all ears and this creamy throwback of a Chardonnay has seen four in its life. Hancock and Sons have made a stunning textured, biscuity wine here. A real credit to Hawke’s Bay.
MATTS TOP TIP: Open the bottle, find the comfiest chair in the house, grab a good book and tell no one else!
Sometimes, it’s okay to indulge, treat yourself and splurge a little and this tasty bottle is precisely that. It’s what I ask my wife for Birthdays, Christmas and sometimes a bog-standard Saturday night to celebrate a week well lived. Nanny Goat Pinot Noir is the perfect representative for luxury Otago red wine, and the 2019 is a step up from that. The earthy undertone mixes wonderfully with a blackberry twang to make it the perfect Pinot!
MATTS TOP TIP: Don’t be afraid to add a bit of spice to your meat or veggies when wine pairing with Nanny Goat Pinot Noir, the spices bring out the floral textures and tannings in the wine to make it extra special. Trust me on this one. MajorDomo can help you find an in-house chef who knows about this secret.
This varietal is a staple in the Rhône Valley. But we have our own alps, and now we have our own Viognier. So if you’re missing your European holiday this year grab a bottle, pick a beautiful villa in the South Island with a mountain view, download Duolingo French on your smartphone and voila! You have your summer holiday sorted. The Saint Clair Viognier has crisp apple and apricot fruitiness with an after-kick of spice. Their own recommendation is to match with a tasty pumpkin risotto!
MATTS TOP TIP: Kahurangi or Braeside Villas will match your European theme, two beautiful chalet-style properties with mountain views!
Because of the fragrant aromas, this Viognier will also go great with Asian food!
There are so many great wines made in New Zealand; it has been so hard to narrow them to only five. So here are my other picks to pair with dinner or to enjoy in the sun with friends and good conversation!