1 Riverby Es­tate Marl­bor­ough No­ble Ries­ling 2016 ($35)

Gold Medal Kevin Court­ney of Riverby Es­tate has the Mi­das touch when it comes to cre­at­ing gor­geous sweet wines. Every vin­tage of this no­ble ries­ling has won gold medals here and abroad. “I love the pretty pale bronze colour, the clas­sic toffee and caramelised ap­ple skin char­ac­ters and its sweet, yet con­cen­trated and re­fresh­ing palate,” said Yvonne. James also noted its "lovely, glossy golden colour, rich­ness and vi­brancy with a creamy, beeswax fin­ish”. It showed out­stand­ing bal­ance above all; in­tense in its sweet­ness, yet with the acid­ity en pointe, this wine danced across the tongue and leapt ahead of the com­pe­ti­tion.

2 Ne­vis Bluff Se­lec­tion de Grains Nobles Cen­tral Otago Pinot Gris 2015 ($35)

Gold Medal Our judges were wowed by the lifted, can­died fruit char­ac­ters in this wine and its lus­cious acid line. “Very fresh and del­i­cate,” noted James. Jane loved its can­died pear and lifted fruit notes and its tex­tu­ral ap­peal. “The aro­mas of lano­lin, white pep­per, baked

ap­ples and com­plex, con­cen­trated musky tones are gor­geous,” said Yvonne.

3 Villa Maria Re­serve Marl­bor­ough No­ble Ries­ling 2016 ($36.99) Gold Medal

If you’re look­ing for a sweet treat that has lifted and in­tense man­darin and toffee ap­ple flavours with amaz­ing, zesty tex­tures on the fin­ish, you’ve come to the right cul-de-sac says Yvonne. “It’s gor­geous”. Jane and James agreed, de­tail­ing mar­malade and at­trac­tive gin­ger, stone­fruit and spice, lovely acid­ity and im­pres­sive weight and depth of flavour.

4 Tor­lesse Can­ter­bury Cas­sis Liqueur NV ($20.99)

Gold Medal

Just the look of this liqueur had our judges reach­ing for the su­perla­tives. “Ex­cep­tional colour!” said Jane. “It speaks so defini­tively of black­cur­rants; such pure cas­sis!” That pu­rity also wowed James: “Cleanly fruited, en­tic­ing and a lovely ex­pe­ri­ence.” For Yvonne, the in­tense pu­rity of flavour, berries, black­cur­rant and pep­per­corn made it pretty much per­fect.

5 Tu­pari Wines Awa­tere Val­ley Late Har­vest Ries­ling 2017 ($34)

Gold Medal

“This is a lovely, juicy, re­fresh­ing late har­vest style,” noted James. “It's nicely pro­por­tioned, with lifted mus­cat notes, and beau­ti­fully pre­sented, bal­anced and joy­ous to drink.” Jane was se­duced by the peach blos­som aro­mat­ics and its del­i­cate, fine lines, while Yvonne felt there were also ex­cel­lent cit­rus and ap­ple notes up­front.

6 For­rest Wines Marl­bor­ough Botry­tised Ries­ling 2017 ($30)

Gold Medal

If there’s one thing the For­rest team know how to do, it’s pro­duce ex­cep­tional ries­ling. “It’s in­cred­i­bly juicy and fresh and while in­tensely sweet, it’s beau­ti­fully bal­anced,” said Yvonne. Jane found it rem­i­nis­cent of Rox­dale apri­cots and mar­malade, and James felt it showed im­pres­sive acid­ity, weight and rich­ness.

7 Wither Hills Cel­lar Col­lec­tion No­ble Gewürz­traminer 2016 ($35)

Gold Medal

Dessert gewürz is a rare thing, so our judges were thrilled to see one at gold medal level. “Beau­ti­fully bal­anced, re­fined and show­ing awe­some aro­mat­ics,” said James. “The tex­ture is lovely and weighty.” Jane en­joyed its bright, acid lines and pu­rity of flavour. “It has bright, vi­brant, Turk­ish de­light notes; it’s very sub­tle, very moreish.”

8 Aunts­field Busch Block Marl­bor­ough Late Har­vest Ries­ling 2016 ($39)

Sil­ver Medal

Bright and sparkly in the glass, with at­trac­tive caramelised cit­rus, this wine was “gor­geous with lovely, pure fruit, lifted flo­rals and deep, stone­fruit notes – ethe­real,” de­clared Jane. James agreed, say­ing it was a clean, pretty wine, well-han­dled and pre­sented, and very very nice.

9 Awa­tere River Wine Co. Awa­tere River by Louis Vava­sour Late Har­vest Gewürz­traminer 2014 ($59.99)

Sil­ver Medal This ex­am­ple of late-har­vest gewürz­traminer is de­light­ful, ac­cord­ing to Yvonne. “I love the musky, gin­ger and lus­cious ly­chee lay­ers.” Jane added, "It’s very bright, vi­brant, slightly but­tery and has lovely con­cen­tra­tion, pu­rity and tex­ture."

10 Lev­eret Es­tate Re­serve Hawke’s Bay Late Har­vest Viog­nier 2016 ($29.90)

Sil­ver Medal

Dessert viog­nier is also un­com­mon in New Zealand, so our judges were ex­cited to come across one so beau­ti­fully made. “With dried apri­cots and jas­mine notes, it’s an in­cred­i­bly lus­cious, dense and caramelised ex­am­ple,” noted Yvonne. Jane liked the botry­tis in­flu­ence, apri­cot ker­nel char­ac­ters and that it was very se­duc­tive and con­cen­trated.

11 Osawa Wines Hawke’s Bay No­ble Gewürz­traminer 2016 ($30)

Sil­ver Medal

This lit­tle cracker from the ter­races over­look­ing the Ngaruroro River has de­li­cious del­i­cacy, fresh­ness and pu­rity said James, while Jane found im­pres­sive man­darin, rose petal and fruit frisk­i­ness, Yvonne loved the musky, gin­ger-spiced aro­mat­ics and sexy cit­rus-for­ward flavours.

12 Tor­lesse Can­ter­bury 10 Year Old Tawny ($35)

Sil­ver Medal

Kym Rayner is in­cred­i­bly good at craft­ing sen­sa­tion­ally fo­cused, for­ti­fied wines from his tiny win­ery in Waipara. “Awe­some leather, soy and savoury notes sur­round dried fruits and nutty notes in this warm, smooth port,” said Yvonne. James loved the nutty, raisined char­ac­ters and its lovely length of flavour.

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