93

2012 Neudorf, Moutere Pinot Noir, Moutere, Nelson

( £29, 13.5%, Available from the winery )

Pinots from the clays of Moutere always remind me of the wines of Pommard in Burgundy. They are rich, bold, even slightly sturdy wines that are textured, a little gruff even, and extremely impressive. Structured and concentrated, this is savouery, spicy and intense, with notes of incense and sweet summer berries, supported by tannins. 

BuyDrinking window: 2017-22Similar Wines: £20-£30, 91-95, New Zealand, Red, Pinot Noir
92

2015 Neudorf Twenty Five Rows Chardonnay, Moutere, Nelson

( £21, 13.5%, Available from the winery )

Neudorf makes some of the most characterful Chardonnays in New Zealand. This is their unoaked, Kiwi-meets-Chablis style that sess no oak, but seven months on lees to pick up some extra texture and weight. Supple and fruity, with notes of white peach and pear, taut acidity and a long, satisfying finish. 

BuyDrinking window: 2017-20Similar Wines: £20-£30, 91-95, New Zealand, White, Chardonnay
92

2008 Vinoterra Mtsvane, Kakheti

( €11.90, %, Available from the winery )

Apart from being almost impossible to pronounce (seemingly half the letters are silent), Mtsvane has an entrancing soft, rounded texture, and in this example, an aroma of tea leaves and spiced plums. This is a great example of how these amber wines age effortlessly – and indeed are much better after a couple of extra years in bottle, when the tannins resulting from extended skin contact in the qvevri have integrated a bit.

BuyDrinking window: 2012-2016Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Georgia, White, Mtsvane
92

2011 Kera Wine Tsolikouri, Kakheti

( N/A, 13.5%, Available from the winery )

Apricot stone aroma, intense minerality and savoury fruit. You’d hardly know this qvevri-fermented wine had spent much time on the skins, as there’s very little phenolic influence. Beautiful balance, bone dry and a terrific match with a traditional Georgian salad of aubergines and tomatoes.

BuyDrinking window: 2012-2014Similar Wines: 91-95, Georgia, White, Tsolikouri
90

2008 Jakeli Saperavi, Kakheti

( N/A, 13.8%, Available from the winery )

An excellent qvevri-fermented Saperavi from a small (6ha), organically certified producer in Georgia’s Eastern Kakheti region. Spicy nose, and candied cherry fruit. Seriously structured, with an attractive rosemary scent, and perhaps not suprisingly a great match with lamb.

BuyDrinking window: 2012-2018Similar Wines: 86-90, Georgia, Red, Saperavi
93

2008 Vinoterra Cabernet Sauvignon, Kakheti

( N/A, 13%, Available from the winery )

A fascinating example of what happens if you take an international variety (Cabernet Sauvignon in this case) and ferment/mature it in a qvevri – in this case the wine was also matured in oak. Cabernet’s minty blackcurrant footprint is clearly present, together with herbaceous, spicy and balsamic hints. This is a big wine, with very ripe fruit, but super fresh and really rather elegant. Perhaps not entirely authentic, but original and stays true to the qvevri style. I drank this with Christmas roast goose and all the trimmings – a tough gig, but it held up.

BuyDrinking window: 2012-2028Similar Wines: £20-£30, 91-95, Georgia, Red, Cabernet Sauvignon