Kitchen Tips

The best Riesling & other varieties from Food's Top Wine Awards 2019

Fresh and floral, minty and more, Riesling is on the rise in the New Zealand wine scene. Master of Wine Paul Tudor shares his top Riesling and other varieties from Food magazine's Top Wine Awards.

Look out for the Food Top Wine Award stickers on these bottles at supermarkets and selected liquor retailers.
Old Coach Road Nelson Riesling 2017 ($15)
This simple, fruity, luscious wine will please lots of people. The flavours remind me of Rose's lime marmalade; it is light and fresh in the mouth, with some sweetness on the finish. Lovely.
Villa Maria Private Bin Marlborough Riesling 2018 ($15)
Great nose, floral, honeyed, even a minty lift. This is fresh and lively, moderately sweet on the palate, yet nicely balanced with citrusy acidity. This is a lovely palate freshener, for sipping on its own.
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Marlborough Dry Riesling 2017 ($18)
Riesling lovers, this is the real deal: toasty, limey nose, firm acidity, with a creamy complexity in the mouth and just a hint of sweetness on finish. I would pair this with fresh flounder.
Main Divide Waipara Valley Riesling 2015 ($18)
This off-dry example has some age on it and is toasty and honeyed. Yet there is also some elegance and finesse here; this would make a versatile food-matching wine, yet with enough sweetness to enjoy by itself.
Vidal Marlborough Riesling 2017 ($17)
A nice toasty impression, delicate restraint, some residual sugar; a clean, fresh, yet interesting wine with excellent length. It would be great with the right food; nice deft touch on the winemaking.
Sherwood Estate Stratum Waipara Valley Riesling 2018 ($20)
A classical expression of Riesling at a stunning price, citrus peel and honey, a minerally secondary character, and firm, sharp acidity. Just a suggestion of fruit sweetness in the mouth, but this is an elegant dryish wine that begs for seafood or spicy food.
Greystone North Canterbury Riesling 2017 ($26)
A moderately sweet wine that can be enjoyed by itself, but if you wanted to match it with something – a salty cheese, or intensely flavoured dishes like paté – it would be worth a go. This wine is still very youthful, with tight citrus and floral aromas, subtle fruit on the palate and racy acidity. A classy Riesling which should age gracefully.
Old Coach Road Nelson Gewürztraminer 2018 ($15)
I admit that I did a double take when I saw the price of this wine – this is pretty much as pure an expression of what Gewürztraminer should taste like, at an incredibly low price. Rose petal, lychee, ginger spice aromatics; the palate has some firm, grippy tannins, but these are balanced with a dollop of residual sweetness. Gewürz is such a versatile food wine – it seems to work with almost anything.