The judges

Decanter - - PANEL TASTING -

Me­lanie Brown

Brown joined the team at The Provi­dores in 2006, where she helped to de­velop the largest list of pre­mium New Zealand wine in the UK. She launched her own spe­cial­ist re­tailer, The New Zealand Cel­lar, in 2014, fol­lowed by a wine bar and shop in Lon­don, where she cu­rates a unique se­lec­tion of New Zealand wine events.

My top three

■ Mill­ton Vine­yards, Te Arai Chenin

Blanc, Gis­borne 2016 I’ve al­ways been se­duced by this wine, which is op­u­lent but with poise and ten­sion. James Mill­ton is New Zealand’s bio­dy­nam­ics pi­o­neer. One of the most tex­tu­rally pleas­ing New Zealand wines I’ve tasted. 95/100 Drink 2018-2021 ■ Mount Ed­ward Ries­ling, Cen­tral

Otago 2017 Dun­can Forsyth, the wine­maker and Ries­ling ob­ses­sive, farms or­gan­i­cally and pro­duces beau­ti­ful sin­gle-vine­yard wines. This has depth and bright­ness in equal mea­sure, with pu­rity. 90 Drink 2018-2024 ■ Seifried, Grüner Velt­liner, Nel­son

2017 Wowz­ers: bright, clean and su­perbly ap­proach­able! The seifried fam­ily is from aus­tria, so its no won­der their aus­trian va­ri­etals are start­ing to come into their own, and at such value. 92 Drink 2018-2020

Re­becca Gibb MW

Gibb spent six years liv­ing in New Zealand, where she be­came a Mas­ter of Wine, grad­u­at­ing top of her class and win­ning the Madame Bollinger medal for ex­cel­lence in tast­ing. A for­mer win­ner of the Louis Roed­erer Emerg­ing Wine Writer, her first book, The Wines of New Zealand, will be pub­lished this year.

My top three

■ Prophet’s Rock, Pinot Gris, Cen­tral

Otago 2015 Pure, poised and pretty. Paul Pu­jol draws on his wine­mak­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in al­sace to craft this finely scented Pinot Gris. It of­fers del­i­cacy, bal­ance and – de­spite a lick of juicy sweet­ness on en­try – there’s a sense of savouri­ness. 95 Drink 2018-2023 ■ Burn Cot­tage, Ries­ling-Grüner

Velt­liner, Cen­tral Otago 2015 This 54% Ries­ling, 46% Grüner blend is a rich and pris­tine style; its edges are start­ing to soften with time in bot­tle. 95 Drink 2018-2020 ■ Trin­ity Hill, Marsanne-Viog­nier,

Hawkes Bay 2016 Mr Hon­ey­suckle meets Miss apri­cot on the Gim­blett Grav­els in this volup­tuous yet well-pro­por­tioned Rhônein­spired blend. aged on lees for a whop­ping 14 months, the re­sult is a sump­tu­ous, suave ex­pres­sion. 95 Drink 2018-2020

Roger Jones

Jones and his wife Sue own Miche­lin-starred restau­rant The Har­row at Lit­tle Bed­wyn. He con­sults, writes and trav­els ex­ten­sively, host­ing food and wine match­ing ex­pe­ri­ences. He set up The Tri Na­tions Wine Chal­lenge to pro­mote the wines of South Africa, Aus­tralia and New Zealand, which will take place in Hawkes Bay next year.

My top three

■ Kumeu River, Pinot Gris, Kumeu 2016 More fa­mous for their Chardon­nay, but the Bra­jkovich fam­ily cer­tainly knows how to make stylish, el­e­gant, classy wines – and this Pinot Gris is up there with the very best. 96 Drink 2018-2022 ■ Es­carp­ment, Pinot Gris,

Mart­in­bor­ough 2015 I have known Larry ‘McPinot’ McKenna for many years and this Pinot Gris show­cases his ca­pac­ity to make stun­ning white wines too – and at a great value price. 95 Drink 2018-2024 ■ Burn Cot­tage, Ries­ling-Grüner

Velt­liner, Cen­tral Otago 2015 Farmed bio­dy­nam­i­cally on a tiny site where it was not suit­able to plant Pinot Noir. Rich and en­er­getic, this wine will age beau­ti­fully. Ted Lemon of Lit­torai is the con­sul­tant wine­maker here. 95 Drink 2018-2020

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