A complete Guide to New Zealand Wines

What to Drink, How to choose and Where to Buy Wines that are a sure bet

Why we made this list?
Pairing wine with food has been on since forever. Pairing wine with online pokies has not. We just wanted to make up for that. And we focused on what’s important for a Gambler:

  • tickGood taste -- we like exquisite things since we put our money to casinos
  • tickAwards & Labels -- great anyway
  • tickSmall wineries -- garage & rare wines are a sure bet
  • tickPrice and Ability to Earn some -- buy now and sell later with a surplus
  • tickOccasion -- when and where to drink

The Gambling Traveler’s Choice

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Series #1
The Avalon League
TOP 20 Graal Wines of New Zealand
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WineVineyardWhy distinguished?
Saint Clair Wairau Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2006Sauvignon Blanc 2006Saint Clair Estate WinesSaint Clair Wairau Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2006 was made from the top one percent of the Sauvignon Blanc grapes that Saint Clair harvested. No oak, no lees, just the best fruit.
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ihumatao Chardonnay 2005Ihumatao Chardonnay 2005Villa Maria Single VineyardA medium bodied wine, it is finely balanced and elegantly textured, finishing with subtle flint nuances and a hint of chalky minerality.
Astrolabe Pinot Gris 2006Pinot Gris 2006AstrolabeAttractive pears and stone fruits with a silky, rich palate and medium sweetness.
Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, 2006Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2006Kim CrawfordA complex wine with ripe tropical fruit flavours balanced by herbaceousness, goosberry and crisp acidity. A superb reflection of Marlborough.
Marlborough Unoaked Chardonnay, 2006Marlborough Unoaked Chardonnay 2006Kim CrawfordThese Chardonnay grapes were selected to create an approachable, and fruit-forward, unoaked-style Chardonnay.
Villa Maria Reserve Hawke’s Bay Merlot 2004Villa Maria Reserve Hawke’s Bay Merlot 2004Villa MariaThe fruit for this wine was grown entirely on the gravely soils of the Gimblett Gravels growing region in Hawkes Bay. This unique area is fast being recognised for producing consistently high coloured and full
flavoured Merlot wines.
Wooing Tree Central Otago Pinot Noir 2005Central Otago Pinot Noir 2005Wooing TreeRipe hand picked fruit, gentle winemaking and maturation in French oak have resulted in a complex and powerful wine, with aromas of ripe cherries, raspberries and Black Doris plums, a rich and silky smooth palate with fine grainy tannins to match the fruit.
Church Road SV Cabernet Merlot 2004Cabernet Merlot 2004Church Road SVAdvances in viticulture over this time and an association with the highly respected Bordeaux producer, Domaines Cordier, coupled with knowledge of local grape-growing conditions have culminated in exceptional quality gains in recent years.
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Series #2
The Gold Factory League
Top 20 Wineries for Pure Gold Diggers
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WineVineyardWhy distinguished?
Osawa WinesOsawa Wines"Today we are a busy vineyard producing 250,000 bottles of wine a year. We have four wine labels and produce 11 varieties of wine from Sav' and Pinot to sticky dessert wines and celebratory bubbles."
Rippon VineyardRippon Vineyard"Rippon is an unusual vineyard. It produces organic wines using biodynamic processes, which rejects chemical fertilizer and pesticides and relies on a holistic understanding of wine agriculture."
Trinity HillTrinity Hill"Trinity Hill is referred to as an iconic New Zealand winery because we consistently produce superb examples of traditional and innovative wine varieties."
Burn Cottage VineyardBurn Cottage Vineyard"From the very first vine we planted on our unique vineyard in the rugged environment of Central Otago, we have had an unwavering commitment to crafting some of the World’s finest Wines."
GreywackeGreywacke"The Greywacke portfolio is primarily based on two varieties, sauvignon blanc and pinot noir, the
sauvignon blanc being produced in two distinctly different styles."
Foxes IslandFoxes Island"What began with a single chardonnay vintage expanded to include the area’s biggest new star, pinot noir, which now takes up 70 percent of the vineyard’s plantings, and a top-rated reisling."
Neudorf VineyardsNeudorf Vineyards"Neudorf is on my list of world class Pinot producers in New Zealand" -- Tim Atkin
HerzogHerzog"Hans Herzog Estate is one of New Zealand’s most treasured, truly artisan wineries, and Hans Herzog one of its most respected winemakers with more than 40 vintages of winegrowing under his belt."
Bell HillBell HillFrom 1997 through to 2009 Bell Hill planted two hectares at high density with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. This is a unique site with limestone derived soils and north facing hillside exposures.
Palliser EstatePalliser EstatePalliser Estate is a boutique Martinborough vineyard with an international outlook. For over two decades they have been producing quality Martinborough wine for the world to enjoy.
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Series #3
Burning Desire for Best Wines
Sleek Selection of Best Wines 2005-2015
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  • cup 2007 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc
    Still commanding a cult following in Britain, two decades after it burst on to the scene, this subsidiary of Veuve Clicquot has always produced a wine that stands slightly aside from the mass of Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs in its creaminess and in its peachy flavours, which come from the presence in the blend of a little Semillon. Whether it is worth going on to a waiting list for, or paying £25 a bottle for, is another question.
    Where to Buy:widely available.
  • cup2007 Montana Festival Block Sauvignon Blanc
    From the heart of Marlborough, close to the site of the annual festival (hence the name), this is one of Montana’s new range of single-vineyard wines. These all have more character and complexity than the basic Montana Sauvignon. I really like the lime character I found in this wine, which definitely adds complexity to the gooseberry.
    Where to Buy: Vintage House, Hailsham Cellars.
  • cup2006 Two Paddocks Pinot Noir
    Of the growing list of vineyard-owning celebrities, Sam Neill (Jurassic Park, The Piano) stands apart in the personal commitment he has put into his Pinot Noir vines. This wine is a blend of three vineyards, and shows off intense flavours of plums and just-ripe red and black cherries, with some toasty oak. Very mouthwatering.
    Where to Buy: Haynes Hanson & Clark
  • cup2006 Montana Terraces Pinot Noir
    Wild raspberries and freshly ground white pepper are both to the fore in this Montana flagship from Marlborough. Nothing like Burgundy, but none the worse for that.
    Where to Buy: Threshers
  • cup2006 Matua Valley Sauvignon Blanc
    From one of the oldest names in New Zealand wine, this is full of intense fresh, gooseberry and blackcurrant flavours and a touch of lemon and even — surprisingly — an agreeable, slightly salty character.
    Where to Buy: Spar and Makro shops, and through everywine.co.uk
  • cup2006 Palliser Estate Martinborough Sauvignon Blanc
    Most New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc comes from the Marlborough Valley at the top eastern corner of the South Island. This comes from Pinot Noir country close to the capital, Wellington, on the North Island. It’s a little earthier and more “Loire-ish” than the Marlborough examples, but still packed with New Zealand gooseberry character.
    Where to Buy: Justerini & Brooks
  • cup2006 Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay
    Michael Brajkovich is the man who helped to kick-start the New Zealand screwcap revolution after repeatedly finding too many of his wines being spoiled by bad corks.
    Today, about 90 per cent of the country’s wines are happily sealed in this way, including most of the best. This is a beautiful marriage between the rich nuttiness of great Burgundy and the tropical notes of New Zealand, built to last.
    Where to Buy: The Boxford Wine Co
  • cup2006 Vinoptima Ormond Gewurztraminer
    Made by Nick Nobilo in Gisborne, a region best known for its Chardonnay, this is a lovely example of a grape variety New Zealand does really well. Fresh and fragrant, with the spice of pepper, the fruit of lychees and the perfume of violets.
    Where to Buy: available from Berkmann direct
  • cup2006 Clearview Enigma
    Made from the traditional Bordeaux combination of Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, this is a very Bordeaux-like wine. The key flavours are of plum, cherry and blackcurrant, but there are some perfumed notes too and a hint of spearmint. Classy and worth keeping.
    Where to Buy: Hellion Wines
  • cup2005 Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Viognier
    The apricotty Viognier is a variety that likes a warm climate, and this example may also be benefiting from the stony soil of the Gimblett Gravels, which lie beneath most of the best vineyards in Hawke’s Bay. This is richly tropical, but with a good mineral note and a hint of ginger.
    Where to Buy: The New Zealand House of Wine
  • cup2005 Te Mata Estate Coleraine
    The oldest winery in Hawke’s Bay, Te Mata is one of the only producers in New Zealand with a track record of wines that age. This Bordeaux lookalike should reward keeping to allow its plummy, blackcurranty flavours to mellow. Stocks are low, and the 2005 will soon be replaced by the 2006.
    Where to Buy: Noel Young Wines, Edward Sheldon
  • cup2005 Craggy Range Gimblett Gravels “Le Sol” Syrah
    One of the stars of Hawke’s Bay — and maker of great wines elsewhere — Craggy Range has produced about 3,600 bottles of plummy, peppery and wild-berryish Syrah to set against any top wine from the Rhône.
    Where to Buy: widely available.
  • cup2004 Dry River Martinborough Syrah
    The Dry River winery was a pioneer of New Zealand Syrah — and its wine has been the model for a number of other producers. The use of the French name here — as opposed to Shiraz, the name by which this grape is known in Australia — is explained by a character that combines bright blackberry fruit with smoke and pepper, in a style that tastes much more like the Rhône than Barossa.
    Where to Buy: Justerini & Brooks