That is quite a call; one which has already led to one of the country’s most experienced tasters asking where all the other truly fine wines of the world fit in?
Which suggests that he thinks, and so, no doubt, do others, that these scores are far too generous; that these wines simply cannot match those of similar varieties from the Old World, where the best wines are still presumed to be produced. And still believed to set the standard.
Sorry, but a good wine is one that has all the qualities expected of the variety, no faults, and satisfies, or in the cases to which I refer, charms the hell out of the palate of the person who assesses it.
The reputation of the maker or the wine’s place of origin has little to do with the result because tastings are almost always conducted blind.
We taste wines not to compare one against the other, or against wines from held up as perfect examples of the various varieties. We taste wines to assess their individual qualities as we understand those qualities.
If we have a benchmark then it is our own, not one that has been established by others whose tastes and standards can, and do vary widely.
Let’s leave comparisons to wine show judges whose ultimate task is to select a winner, often from a number of wines that have all scored the same mark.
And let’s remember also that many wines, often with the biggest reputations, are not entered in these competitions for reasons that should be glaringly obvious.
Some are not even offered, or not widely offered for independent evaluation, makers preferring instead to put their own spin on theproduct, much of it based on reputation.
And let’s make no mistake about one other thing.
New Zealand wines are perfectly capable of matching many held to be the world’s best. And most, particularly the reds now being released are from a vintage (2013) which is said to be the best ever.