Act II – New Zealand

Reviewed  wines on offer by Eve Spirits, Hai Choo Wines, Le Vigne, The Local Nose, Wine Directions, Wine Exchange Asia, Wine Guru


As promised yesterday, here’s a continuation of the reviews looking only at Kiwi wines.

In ascending order of BBI value:

2008 / Man O’ War / Dreadnought / Waiheke Island / Syrah / $69 at Wine Guru and The Local Nose – Bob Campbell gives it 94 pts (“excellent, top quality”) and Decanter gives it 18.5 pts which puts it into 5 star territory. Should be drinking for another 6 years or so. A terrific wine by their standards. The RRP is NZ$46 so the price here is still a BBI “fair value”. Nothing wrong with the price, it’s just beaten by others who are more keen in their pricing.

2006 / Kumeu River / Mates Vineyard / Auckland / Chardonnay / S$55 at Wine Exchange Asia – Like the Man O’War, this too gets 94 pts from Bob Campbell. It also gets 96 pts from Gourmet Traveller Wine and 91 pts from Wine Spectator. Only a couple of more years left in it apparently, so all the more reason to buy now and drink now. With a RRP of NZ$50, you can see why it beats the Man O’War in value.

2009 / Mt Beautiful / North Canterbury / Pinot Noir / S$42 at Wine Directions and The Local Nose – Quite frustrating (again) that the only rating I could find on this wine and this vintage came not from a New Zealand rater but from Wine Advocate. New Zealand definitely needs to breed more recognized home-grown raters. Wine Advocate gives it 90 pts putting it just into the “outstanding” category. The RRP looks to be around the NZ$30-33 mark so the pricing here is very keen indeed.

2008 / Crossroads / Talisman / Hawkes Bay / Syrah / S$42 at Hai Choo Wines and The Local Nose – Another wine and vintage with the rating by Wine Advocate and seemingly ignored by the local Kiwi raters. Wine Advocate’s rating on this one puts it into the “very good” category, although to be frank, there’s only a point difference between it and the Mt Beautiful. Looks like it retails for about NZ$40 so it gets the gong for the best comparative value here today.



Coolawin Wines was established in 1969 and at its peak was making 50,000 cases.  The best I can gather is that sometime before 1985 it morphed into Chais Clarendon which today sits under the Norman’s label.


“Do you really think that plunking down ridiculous sums of money for classed-growth Bordeaux makes you a wine lover? That it makes you knowledgeable? That it shows the world how smart you are? I’ll let you in on a little secret: The folks who really know about wine think you’re something, all right But smart it ain’t” – Matt Kramer, Wine Spectator 31st May 1998

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Wine quotations

"A good bottle of wine contains more philosophy than all the books in the world" - Louis Pasteur

“The unexacting palates of the masses…are content to ask no question [on origin] so long as a florin or half-a-crown will purchase a roomy flagon of strong , full-bodied, fruity wine” – CE Hawker writing in 1907