Greystone 2022 Chardonnay makes Viva’s NZ Wine Awards 2024 Top 50 Wines!

Viva’s NZ Wine Awards are back! Wine editor Dr Jo Burzynska selects New Zealand’s 50 most exciting wineries for 2024.

The calibre of wineries in New Zealand is so high, says wine editor Jo Burzynska, that selecting just 50 for Viva’s New Zealand Wine Awards is an “incredibly hard task”.

The wineries recognised in this showcase offer “excellence, enjoyment and interest at every level”, says Jo. They also do an incredible job of highlighting the distinctive places in which their wines are grown. “These wineries illustrate what is truly exciting in wine in Aotearoa today: the discovery of the unique and varied taste of its land,” says Jo.

Greystone Organic Waipara Valley North Canterbury Chardonnay 2022, $55
There’s beautiful fruit purity to its creamy texture, with notes of lemon and white peach and delicate savoury nuance.


The Top 50 in alphabetical order:

A Thousand Gods Boat in the Woods, Marlborough 2022, $40
Simon and Lauren Sharpe’s first Viognier hit the variety’s often elusive sweet spot in combining freshness and flavour. It’s dry, crisp and minerally with layers of lush lemony fruit and fragrant notes of lavender, herbs and spice.

Amoise Albariño Amber Terraces Vineyard Hawke’s Bay 2023, $39
A richly textured and stunningly fragrant expression of the variety where time fermenting with its skins has unlocked scents of jasmine, herb and bergamot.

Ashleigh Barrowman “The Magician” Sous Voile Marlborough Chardonnay 2021, $80
A daring and delicious biodynamic wine inspired by Ashleigh’s time in France’s Jura. Fermented then matured in the same barrel for three years without being topped up, this has imparted a savoury nutty richness beneath a vibrant surge of green apple and mineral.

Astrolabe Awatere Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2023, $30
My pick from Astrolabe right now is the elderflower-infused and gooseberry-fruited Awatere Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2023, which combines classic Marlborough vibrancy with a minerally elegance.

Ata Rangi Kotinga Martinborough Pinot Noir 2021, $125
Due for release later this year, it offers an exquisite taste of Ata Rangi’s innovation. Rather than maturing it in traditional burgundy barriques, a large oak foudre was used to preserve the brightness of this fresh and silken single-site Pinot with its pure cherry fruit infused with rose florals and spice, and a subtle savoury depth

Bilancia Trelinnoe Vineyard Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2022, $55
One of the single vineyard sites Bilancia now works with, situated on a terrace of Roy’s Hill. It’s a graceful and silken wine, with notes of almond paste and gingerbread, pure white fruits and flowers, and subtle umami undercurrent.

Black Barn Vineyards Hawke’s Bay Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2023, $45
With its notes of stonefruit and pineapple, tangy citrus, and attractive notes of toasted nut, this is proof that some lovely wines were made in Hawke’s Bay in 2023, despite the challenging vintage.

Black Estate North Canterbury Cabernet Franc 2022, $55
Black Estate’s conviction to plant Cabernet Franc for its potential as a standalone variety in Waipara has been proved correct in the seriously good 2022. In this fresh and plush textured wine, fragrant notes of violet, earth and stone mingle with its pure black cherry and boysenberry fruit.

Blank Canvas Escaroth Vineyard Marlborough Pinot Noir 2021, $60
Blank Canvas’ concentrated and plush black fruits mingle with notes of cola, violet, smoke and dried leaves, in an opulent pinot noir tempered by a bright freshness.

Cambridge Road Naturalist Riesling Pinot Noir Martinborough Petillant Naturel 2023, $40
A good introduction to Cambridge Road’s wines, this delivers a fresh and fizzy mouthful of crunchy apple fruit and citrus, with a touch of yeasty richness.

Church Road TOM Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2020, $220
Only made in the best years, Church Road’s flagship from 2020 is a voluptuous but fresh wine, with ripe black plum, berry and blackcurrant fruit wrapped in velvety tannins laced with notes of tar and licorice.

Churton Best End Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2023, $50
With a character intensified by the depleted soils and windy nature of its block, this epitomises Churton’s approach. It’s a textural and concentrated style with ripe peach fruit and notes of lemon curd, cut with an attractive grapefruit freshness and steely edge.

Cloudy Bay Te Koko Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2021, $72
The winery’s textural reserve style balances rich savoury and nutty characters from barrel fermentation with an understated greener Sauvignon dimension.

Craggy Range Aroha Te Muna Martinborough Pinot Noir 2022, $170
From Julian Ground’s time at the winemaking helm comes a lighter style of pinot with an understated depth to its fragrant, fresh and silky palate of spice, florals, herbs, red fruit, and mineral.

Čuvar Rivermere Vineyard Gimblett Gravels, Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2021, $44
From the winery’s top tier, this is taut and intense, blending pristine white fruit and crisp citrus with a smoky flinty character.

Deep Down Marlborough “Blanc” 2023, $30
This inaugural release is an intriguing white blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that’s softly textured and savoury with a fresh minerally drive.

Dog Point Marlborough Chardonnay 2021, $50
The fruits of the new generation, it continues the winery’s house style of power and elegance in its pure bergamot-edged white peach fruit underpinned by a dynamic grapefruity minerality.

Eaton Fforte Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2021, $54
An exciting and complex style of Sauvignon that layers notes of chamomile, grilled asparagus, spice and honey over a vibrant base of fresh lime and saline minerality.

Elephant Hill “Stone” Hawke’s Bay Merlot Cabernet 2020, $65
Hailing from the Gimblett Gravels, this concentrated, full bodied and highly structured blend has brooding black fruits, an ironlike minerality and savoury undertone.

Esses Essential Kaikōura Methode Traditionnelle NV, $49
Esse’s latest NV release melds richer notes of honey and ginger cake with crisp green apple and fresh lemon.

Felton Road Block 3 Central Otago Pinot Noir 2022, $109
Depth and agility combine in one of Felton Road’s five single-block wines. It has a seamless and beautifully silky palate with stone-dusted and savoury-edged fresh cherry fruit and hints of herb.

Framingham F Series Estate Field Blend Marlborough 2022 , $30
A snapshot of the winery’s white varieties, the blend of Viognier, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc is crisp and richly textured, with dried apricot and lemon curd fruit and gorgeous aromatics of rose petal, honeysuckle and spice.

Fromm Vineyard Fromm Marlborough Malbec 2019, $85
One of the beautiful wines from Fromm’s Hätsch Kalberer era, this is velvety textured with fresh and intense dark boysenberry fruit perfumed with violet and clove, over a savoury base.

Greystone Organic Waipara Valley North Canterbury Chardonnay 2022, $55
There’s beautiful fruit purity to its creamy texture, with notes of lemon and white peach and delicate savoury nuance.

Greywacke Marlborough Chardonnay 2021, $42-45
In last year’s Viva Wine Awards, Greywacke was honoured for its exceptional Sauvignons but, as this illustrates, it makes impressive wines across the board. It packs some power in its notes of flint and line of grapefruit acidity but there’s also an elegance to its pure white fruited profile.

Hans Herzog Spirit of Marlborough 2017, $36
To celebrate its 30th anniversary, Hans Herzog has released a special edition of its rich and structured flagship wine, a complex and concentrated blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon with layers of black fruits, earth and cedarwood.

Halcyon Days Halcyon Hawke’s Bay 2022, $36
A different and delicious food-friendly style of sauvignon. Just 10 per cent alcohol, but full of fragrant jasmine, honeysuckle and fennel notes, with fresh pithy grapefruit and an attractive savoury element.

Huntress Herringbone Vineyard Bridge Pa Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2023, $46
Huntress’ first Hawke’s Bay release is a light, pretty and aromatic expression with bright plum fruit overlayed with fragrant notes of florals, green herb and pepper.

Kenzie Mangatahi Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2022, $43
Energy and elegance combine with its drive of grapefruit citrus, splash of saline, hint of white flowers and complex nutty edge.

Kumeu River Kumeu Crémant NV, $50
Sparkling wines are a more recent addition to Kumeu River’s range, which includes this stylish chardonnay-dominant blend with its fresh white fruits and nuances of mineral salts and underlying nutty almond richness.

Man O’ War Ironclad Waiheke & Ponui Island 2021, $55
A bold, firmly structured but refined blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon, with concentrated cocoa-dusted black fruit, touch of toasty oak and savoury undercurrent.

The Marlborist Grande Sauvignon Marlborough 2022, $38
Fermented in old barrels and puncheons, it’s a complex, creamy-textured style that counterpoises richness and restraint in its ripe tropical mango and guava flavours and taut grapefruit foil.

Mohawk Hill by Maude Central Otago Pinot Noir 2022, $50
From one of Maude’s estate vineyards, boldly fruited but fresh with notes of plum, forest floor and graphite.

Libiamo Amphora Gisborne Chenin Blanc 2021, $45
Millton is a national Chenin champion, and this is a beautifully rounded example with notes of grapefruit, smoky flint and peppery herb.

Mount Edward Central Otago Gamay 2023, $45
One of the country’s most consistently gorgeous Gamays, juicy, bright berry-fruited, gently herbed, eminently drinkable and seriously fun.

Neudorf Rosie’s Block Moutere Nelson Albarino 2023, $33
Made from a block named after the second generation at Neudorf, it has intensity, crisp citrus and the variety’s classic briny minerality. Its ripe peach fruit threaded with notes of jasmine makes it approachable rather than austere.

No1 Family Estate Cuvee No 1 Blanc de Blancs Marlborough Methode Traditionelle NV, $40
Fuses Marlborough’s classic ripe fruit with a champagne-like elegance with its crisp lift of citrus and the complexity of its subtle yeasty undertones.

O Naturel Organic M&M Central Otago 2023, $34
A bright, fresh and floral red co-ferment of Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir made by Lucie and Brook Lawrence’s teenage daughters. For drinking chilled.

Main Divide Waipara Valley Pinot Noir 2022, $27
Great value for money, it is hard to believe its plush plum fruit and complex layers of forest floor, herb and smoke is a mere $27.

Prophet’s Rock Cuvée Aux Antipodes Central Otago Pinot Noir 2020, $119
A fabulous fusion of old and new worlds. The density of its black cherry and blackcurrant fruit is a pure expression of Prophet’s Rock’s Bendigo vineyard, layered with savoury notes of thyme and tapenade, perfumed with violet, encased in firm but fine tannins, and building in a crisp, slatey crescendo.

Pyramid Valley Snake’s Tongue Pinot Noir 2021, $125
This stunning, silken-textured new member of Pyramid Valley’s top-tier wines opens up to reveal rich but fresh and pure plum fruit, a strong stony element and undercurrent of earth, game and flowers.

Quartz Reef Bendigo Central Otago Gruner Veltliner 2023, $45
Austrian-born Rudi Bauer makes one of New Zealand’s greatest examples of the Austrian Grüner Veltliner variety. Pure and racy, with an elegant and intense palate of white fruits, mineral and the variety’s signature juniper and white pepper characters.

Rippon “Rippon” Mature Vine Lake Wānaka Central Otago Pinot Noir 2020, $88
A taut energy ripples through a wine that, in this youthful period, is driven by the freshness of its cherry fruit over notes of stone and savoury herb. With an understated intensity, this will age beautifully as demonstrated by decades of past vintages.

Sam Harrop Grand Amateur Watchmaker Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2020, $44
Currently drinking very well, harmonious, silky and intense, propelled by a fresh line of grapefruit acidity, with notes of nectarine, herb and toasted almond.

Sorrell Churton Marlborough Pinot Noir 2022, $49
Focused on the freshness and energy that drives its complex palate of plum, dried flowers and herbs.

Swift Hawke’s Bay Cabernet Franc 2022, $36
A pretty, perfumed and crunchy expression of the variety with its red fruits, rosemary and violet.

Te Whare Ra Clayvin Marlborough Pinot Noir 2021, $75
Silky textured with considerable weight to its rich herb-infused plum fruit but still wonderfully fresh and light on its feet.

Tony Bish Heartwood Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2022, $45
All about oak but used judiciously in this harmonious wine in which barrel fermentation has added richness and a salted almond complexity to its pure notes of yellow fruits and crisp lemon.

Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Tempranillo 2022, $40
An alternative variety from Trinity Hill, juicy and sumptuous black and red fruit laced with notes of cocoa and liquorice spice.

Valli Waitaki Vineyard North Otago Pinot Noir 2022, $95
The cool climates and limestone hillside give a powerfully fresh focus to its bright, light and silken palate of cherry fruit, spice, earth, rocks and savoury, perfumed with sweet herbs.

Article by Jo Burzynska
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Photo Credit: Babiche Martens