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New Zealand Wine Week: Top-scoring red wines to try

Celebrate the wines of New Zealand with a range of award-winning reds from the Decanter World Wine Awards...

While Sauvignon Blanc is New Zealand’s calling card, it’s become clear that New Zealand produces a diverse range of grape varieties and wine styles, with red wines vying for attention.

Pinot Noir is a kiwi benchmark, but Syrah is quickly gaining traction – evident at the 2021 Decanter World Wine Awards.

These varieties impressed with all three of New Zealand’s Platinum medals awarded to red wines, including two Syrahs from Marlborough and Hawke’s Bay, and a Pinot Noir from Central Otago.

Scroll down to see New Zealand’s top-scoring red wines and tasting notes from DWWA 2021

In addition to top-scoring Syrahs and Pinot Noirs, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blends from the North Island also saw success, with the judges’ tasting notes highlighting complex herbal, violet and spice notes alongside long finishes.

This week is New Zealand Wine Week and themed to ‘Bring New Zealand Wine to You’, below discover a selection of 18 top-scoring red wines worth discovering…

Learn more about New Zealand Wine Week’s digital programme on the New Zealand Winegrowers website here.

New Zealand Wine Week: Top-scoring red wines to try

Hawkes Bay

Church Road, 1 Single Vineyard Syrah, Hawke’s Bay 2018

Platinum, 97 points
An outstanding nose of youthful red berry fruit and a ripe dark cherry character. The dense rounded palate has rich fruitcake layers, abundant grippy tannins, and is deliciously complex through to its long finish. Alc 13%

Pask, Declaration Syrah, Gimblett Gravels 2019

Gold, 96 points
A beautifully perfumed floral nose of violets, pepper, ripe fruit and minty notes. Abundant redcurrant and vanilla oak flavours, spicy mocha and enjoyable cinnamon finish. Alc 13%

Villa Maria, Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot, Gimblett Gravels 2019

Gold, 96 points
A very impressive complexity on the nose of classic herbal and cassis notes leads to an equally impressive palate, oaky sweetness and dark spicy fruit. Alc 13.5%

Esk Valley, Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignon-Malbec, Gimblett Gravels 2019

Silver, 93 points
Welcoming vibrantly aromatic style, violets and cassis, herbal earthy notes. Impressive concentration of juicy fruit, fine-grained tannins, charry elements to finish. Alc 14%

LVCA, Le Charmant 2018

Silver, 93 points
Ripe dark fruit, classy oak on nose, complex brambly marmite hints too. Stylish palate, perfumed fruit, charry oak on long finish. Alc 13.5%

Leftfield, Malbec 2019

Silver, 92 points
Perfumed black fruit nose of cherry, plum, violets. Generously fruity palate, creamy core with meaty hints and soft ripe tannins. Alc 13.5%

Trinity Hill, Homage Syrah, Gimblett Gravels 2018

Silver, 91 points
A hedonistic mix of exotic spice, red fruit, menthol and violets on the nose. Chewy tannins underpin the core of spicy fruit and savoury notes. Alc 13%

Chateau Waimarama, SSS Cabernet-Merlot 2018

Silver, 91 points
Elegant and attractive red fruit and cassis aromas. Sweet fruit on stylish palate, medicinal savoury elements, well integrated with long finish. Alc 13.5%

De La Terre, Reserve Syrah 2016

Silver, 91 points
Ripe dark cherry and umami qualities on the nose, excellent silky fruit flavours, pepper and spice notes with velvety tannins. Alc 13%


Craggy Range, Te Muna Road Vineyard Pinot Noir, Martinborough 2018

Silver, 93 points
Spicy and smoky style nose, cherry fruit still fresh and succulent. Savoury, toasty character on palate, juicy fruit, silky tannins. Alc 13%

Palliser Estate, Pinot Noir 2019, Martinborough 2019

Silver, 91 points
Smoky dark red fruits on the nose give way to a supple yet concentrated palate of ripe fruit over savoury tannins. Alc 14%


Giesen, Clayvin Single Vineyard Syrah 2019

Platinum, 97 points
A delightful ripe primary fruit nose includes balsamic notes and blackberries. The gorgeous, complex palate consists of perfectly weighted blackcurrant notes, structured tannins and an umami richness coming through on the very long finish. Alc 13.5%

Yealands, Winemaker’s Reserve Pinot Noir, Awatere Valley 2017

Gold, 96 points
A developing wine, offering savoury truffle aromas allied to red fruits and smoky, meaty character. Plenty of savoury fruit flavours, peppery oak on long finish. Alc 13%

Marisco, Leefield Station Pinot Noir 2019

Silver, 92 points
Spicy cloves, dark cherry and floral aromas. Attractive savoury cherry and chocolate palate, ripe supple oaky tannins on long perfumed finish. Alc 13.5%

Central Otago

Brennan, Pinot Noir, Gibbston 2016

Platinum, 97 points
A perfumed, complex nose of cherry and strawberry overlaying pepper spice and mocha leads into a long, appealing palate. Satisfying Sunday roast flavours dominate, with some red fruit, florality and tannin on the mellow savoury finish. Alc 13%

Wooing Tree, Pinot Noir 2019

Gold, 95 points
Aromatic intensity here, with dark cherry, spice and a mocha lift. A complex palate with a bright red fruit style, ripe tannins and appetising finish. Alc 13.5%

Valli, Pinot Noir, Gibbston 2019

Silver, 91 points
Enticingly complex gamey, black cherry aromas lead to red fruit palate with savoury edge. Lovely sage, thyme notes to finish. Alc 13%

Nanny Goat Vineyard, Super Nanny Pinot Noir 2019

Silver, 91 points
Elegant and complex nose, dark fruit, almond and spicy oak. Layers of plum and cherry flavours, succulent acidity, powerful finish. Alc 14%

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