It’s been a year to remember, in more ways than one, so we thought it was time to celebrate the good things about 2020 with our Top 25 Wines of the Year.
This tasty bunch spans the gamut of styles from great tasting bubbles and Pinot Noir from the South Island of New Zealand to complex Nebbiolo from the north of Italy, and much more besides.
We have had tastings, discussions and chats about which wines rate the highest for our staff this year and have selected this list based on tastings with suppliers, at wineries and with samples to sent us directly for potential stocking in store. We have come up with this list, not least because we love the taste of these lovely wines. And that's a good reason to buy a couple of bottles to celebrate the end of a challenging year and the start of a fresh new one.
* Our top 25 list is not a ranking but a group of the wines we think hit the highest notes with our team this year.
Regional Wines' Top 25 Wines of 2020
Quartz Reef Brut NV $27.99
This is one of our best sellers, year round and comes from Central Otago, which is home to more Pinot Noir than you can shake a stick at so it goes to reason that this full bodied, dry, toasty sparkling wine is made mostly from Pinot, which makes up 72% of the blend along with 38% Chardonnay, blended together, aged on their yeast lees in bottle for two years, prior to hand disgorgement on site at Quartz Reef winery in Cromwell. Characterful, consistent and delicious.
Nautilus Brut Cuvee NV $34.99
Winemaker Clive Jones aims for the top by modelling this dry, full bodied bubbly on the best - Bollinger Special Cuvee. Both bubblies are Pinot Noir dominant and aged for longer on lees than their counterparts traditionally are, which provides them with a rich flavoursome character which lingers with every sip. Nautilus Brut Cuvee spends three years on lees prior to disgorgement; that's phenomenal for a traditional method, multi vintage bubbly under $40.
2017 Greystone North Canterbury Pinot Noir $39.99
Organically certified, talented winemaking and flavoursome grapes with balance, thanks to the long, dry, high diurnal range growing season in North Canterbury. Greystone Pinot Noir ticks all the boxes, the most important being that it tastes as great Pinot should. Bright fruit, savoury earthy secondary flavours and the gradual development of tertiary complexity. This is an outstanding wine from an outstanding (and under rated) wine region.
2016 The Boneline Waimanu Pinot Noir $38.99
This beautiful North Canterbury Pinot Noir is starting to hit its straps thanks to four years' time to develop interesting savoury flavours and a deliciously concentrated dark cherry note. The Boneline is the name of the vineyard/winery formerly known as Waipara West, due to its westerly situation in North Canterbury. It is a beautiful place to visit and produces stellar wines such as this one.
Champagne Lallier R016 $54.99
Our team at Regional have had the pleasure of tasting all Lallier Champagnes and we're hugely impressed with their quality and value for money. This champagne house is based in Ay, one of 17 Grand Cru villages in the Champagne region. It was founded in 1906 by Rene Lallier and sold in 2004 to Francis Tribaut who is the current owner and winemaker.
This bubbly is a blend of 62% Pinot Noir and 38% Chardonnay, 81% of the grapes grown in 2016, with the balance being reserve wines that are two to three years old on average. The name R016 refers to the vintage from which the majority of the grapes in the wine come; it's all about transparency in grape source.
Dosage is 8 grams per litre and 85% Grand Cru vineyards makes this wine an outstanding expression of very good quality champagne.
Andre Clouet Grand Reserve Champagne NV $59.99
The family owned Andre Clouet champagne house dates back nearly 300 years and this Grand Reserve is one of our staff faves hers at Regional. Where else can you find a 100% Pinot Noir grower champagne made from Grand Cru vineyards, which ages on lees for four times the minimum requirement in the Champagne region. It offers incredible taste and richness.
2016 Guigal Cotes-du-Rhone $23.99
Guigal's famous Cotes du Rhone is a blend of 50% Syrah, 40% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre, aged for 18 months in large oak foudres in the northern Rhone, in Ampuis. Long skin maceration time provides depth and richness to this dry, full bodied, soft red wine, which is made from vines with an average age of 35 years. The 2016 is our current vintage in store and is a stunning year for Rhone reds, with many critics rating it the best in the past century.
2017 Pegasus Bay Sauvignon Semillon $29.99
This complex blend of Sauvignon Semillon is a maverick South Island take on the classic white Bordeaux theme, offering fresh, bright and delicious aromas of ripe apple, lime, gooseberry and passionfruit. Both varieties were aged on their natural deposits of yeast lees for approximately 10 months, prior to blending. This lees contact brings creaminess and body. Once bottled, the wine was aged for another year before release, allowing integratation and depth.
2011 Seresin Sauvignon Blanc Organic $24.99
Organically certified, nine year Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough which drinks brilliantly well now? Yes. Here it is. The extra age in bottle complements this wine which has developed complex savoury notes, a full body and creamy aromas in a beautifully balanced aged Sauvignon.
2015 Churton Marlborough Best End Sauvignon Blanc $41.99
Best End Sauvignon Blanc literally is made from the best end of Churton Estate's small biodynamic Sauvignon Blanc vineyard. And what a wine. Creamy notes, savoury flavours and a lingering zesty finish all make this one of Marlborough's best white wines. No surprise it's made by the Weaver family, who have carved a niche as a great wine producer across its range of classic French grape varieties. All Churton wines are certified organic with Bio-Gro New Zealand and are also made from biodynamically farmed grapes.
2019 Terras Gauda Albarino $35.99
This is a stunning and distinctive northern Spanish white wine made 100% from the Albarino grape. The Terras Gauda winery overlooks the gentle green countryside of Galicia in north west Spain where its vineyards are planted and since the winery develops its own yeasts from the vineyards, it has honed in on an individualistic style. We hope you'll enjoy this as much as we do - a fascinating dry white.
2017 Umani Ronchi Casal di Serra Verdicchio $23.99
Verdicchio is mostly associated with the Marche region but also grows widely in Veneto in northern Italy and is known there as Trebbiano di Soave, as confirmed by DNA testing.
2018 La Colombera Derthona Colli Tortonesi Timorrasso $42.99
This is a great dry white that gets better with age and is also hugely complex right now. It is made from the Timorasso grape, one of the great white grapes of northern Italy, which nearly died out following phylloxera in the late 1800s, until it was revived in the small Colli Tortonesi DOC of Piedmonte.
2016 Produttori del Barbaresco $61.99
Produttori del Barbaresco makes this wine as a regional blend from the small Barbaresco appellation (DOCG) in Piemonte in north west Italy where 51 members collectively own approximately 100 hectares of the entire appellation. This is an outstanding wine from the great 2016 vintage, showing the power, delicacy and seductive structure of the great Nebbiolo grape.
2015 Villa Antinori Toscana $38.99
A top wine from one of Tuscany's most famous wineries. This is drinking superbly now at five years old and puts Central Italy's best red wine foot forward; a must try for both red wine lovers and Italiaphiles.
2015 Savage White South Africa
We have small quantities of this high quality wine from winemaker Duncan Savage, a fan of cool climate whites from the western cape of South Africa, which is where he sources Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon from to make this outstanding blend, which also includes Clairette Blanche and Chenin Blanc.
2019 Foradori Teroldego Lezer $34.99
Elisabetta Foradori is a northern Italian winemaker from Alto Adige in the north east, which is home to the red Teroldego grape, used to make this complex and delicious pale red wine, which suits being chilled. She is northern Italy's queen of low intervention winemaking and produces wines made in barrel, amphora, stainless and cement. Lezer means 'easy' and this wine lives up to its name.
2018 Churton Petit Manseng $44.99
Petit Manseng is a rarely known, refreshing white grape grown in a small appellation in the south of France. It makes outstanding wines such as this organically certified one from the Weaver family's Churton Estate in Marlborough. A stunning wine.
2017 Lime Hill Pinot Noir $46.99
Iron fist, velvet glove, tasty Pinot Noir. This wine comes from a small .8 hectare vineyard on the remote road to Castlepoint in the northern Wairarapa. Limestone dominates the soils on this vineyard and this wine expresses seductive red fruit flavours and stunning depth. It could age well but it tastes great now, so why wait.
2019 Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay $32.99
One of our biggest success stories in October this year. Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay is classically modelled on great white Burgundies, with 100% malolactic fermentation, expressing purity of fruit with its citrus notes and rounded full body.
2014 Puriri Hills Estate $45.99
Judy Fowler founded Puriri Hills Vineyard in the rolling Clevedon Hills, south east of Auckland, and she produced her first red wine in 1999. Her aim is to make the best New Zealand expression of great red wines that emulate the best from the right bank of Bordeaux.
2012/2014 Greywacke Marlborough Riesling $29.99
This is a must try, made with hand picked grapes grown on the organically certified Ashmore Vineyard in Fairhall, Marlborough then fermented with a combination of spontaneous yeast and inoculated ferments (50/50) were taken to 12.5% ABV and residual sugar of 19.5 grams per litre, which makes this wine medium dry. It tastes of ripe Granny Smith apples underpinned by zesty lime flavours and bright acidity.
2019 Black Estate Home Vineyard Chenin Blanc $39.99
Chenin Blanc is one of the great white grapes of the wine world and is beautifully expressed in this dry white from North Canterbury, which rocks with flavours of crisp and crunchy green apples, a note of spice and a honeysuckle impression on the bone dry finish.
2016 Brunier Vieux Telegraph La Crau Chateauneuf-du-Pape $153.99
This special wine is made with grapes grown on 70 year old vines grown on the stony Crau plateau, in the south east of the Chateauneuf-du-Pape appellation. It's a blend of 65% Grenache Noir, 15% Mourvèdre, 15% Syrah, Cinsault, Clairette and 5% other grapes, all hand picked, double sorted during harvest and gently pressed with selective destemming, followed by 30 to 40 days’ traditional fermentation in a combination of stainless steel and wood. This wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered and is a great expression of southern France's most famous Mediterranean appellation.
2017 Domaine Pates Loup Vent d’Ange Chablis $77.99
Domaine Pattes Loup is a 24 hectare certified organic vineyard owned by Thomas Pico in the village of Courgis in Burgundy's northernmost outpost, Chablis. Pico makes outstanding dry whites from the Chardonnay grape and his wines are new at Regional Wines this year, highlighting what we think is Chardonnay at its best.
Pattes Loup means 'wolf's paw'.