From New Zealand to France and Argentina to South Africa, check out our list of the top 10 wines most popular with our customers in 2012.
10. Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Cloudy Bay is the standard bearer for Marlborough and New Zealand when it comes to Sauvignon Blanc. The fruit for the Cloudy Bay Marlborough wines comes from the Cloudy Bay Estate vineyard in Rapaura, the "Widow's Block" in Renwick, the "Mustang" vineyard in Brancott Valley and the "Barracks Block" in the Omaka Valley. These sources are supplemented by fruit from a small number of long-time contract growers. The winemakers are Nick Blampied-Lane, Tim Heath and Sarah Burton, with Jim White as viticulturist. They are responsible for Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, the main white wines made.
9. Cotes Du Rhone Armoiries Red 2010
The Cotes Du Rhone Armoiries 2010 rapidly established itself as one of JN's most popular recent additions. It's an attractive, everyday-drinking wine with a deep ruby colour, fruit-filled nose and a palate redolent of plums and damsons. An excellent companion to rich meat stews, barbequed ribs - indeed anything vaguely meaty.
8. Castro Martin Albarino 2010
The white wines of the Rías Baixas DO are the most widely drunk white wines of Spain, and are widely acclaimed for their high quality. Albarino is now attracting attention around the world. Albarino's appeal derives from its freshness, vivacity and originality. Winemaker Angela Martín has produced a wine that is mineral and fine. It has a distinct salty minerality on the nose with a whiff of seaside ozone, followed by pure, clean, limpid white fruit aromas. The palate almost shimmers with tang and vibrancy and, though it has a steely precision, there is just loads of fruit too that has a peachy, pear-like quality backed up by a vivid streak of lemon and mineral acidity. Albarino is the official escort to seafood and fish - mussels, crab, langoustine, lobster - anything edible that begins life in the sea makes the perfect culinary companion.
7. Mud House Sauvignon Blanc 2011
The recently released 2011 Mud House Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc has been presented with a Gold Medal and Best in Class award at one of the world's most rigorous wine shows: The International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC), held recently in London. This international award comes on the back of the recent announcement that Mud House winemaker Nadine Worley was named as a finalist in the Wine Society Young Winemaker of the Year awards.
"This is a fantastic reinforcement that we are doing the right thing in the vineyards and the winery", said Nadine. "We spend a great deal of time working in the vineyards, and then in the winery blending and combining various parcels to create our wine".
The IWSC judges' comments on the 2011 Mud House Sauvignon Blanc concluded with: "A terrific example of a beautifully made wine. Delicious."
6. Kefraya Les Breteches 2009
Lebanon's Chateau Kefraya Les Bretèches is a blend of 7 grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Cinsaut, Mourvèdre, Tempranillo, Carignan and Grenache. The fruit is harvested by hand before fermentation in stainless steel and maturation in concrete tanks. On the nose, the wine reveals notes of cooked fruits, underlined by subtle hints of wood, mushroom and spices. On the palate, this wine is balanced and structured. Serve it at about 17 degrees to accompany Lebanese mezze, grilled meats and any lightly spiced dishes.
"Smoky, soft, delicate rose-hip fruitiness and cherry ripe fruit. The palate has a little dryness, some bright, easy-drinking red fruits and a bit of more rustic, grippy tannin. 85-86/100." (Tom Cannavan's Wine Pages, April 2012).
5. JN Sparkling NV
A high proportion of Chenin Blanc lends JN Sparkling a lovely richness and lots of ripe apple and white floral flavours with a hint of honey - yum. One of our favourite wedding welcomers.
4. Chocolate Block 2011
From South Africa's Winery of the Year as judged by Platter's Wine Guide 2012, Franschhoek's Boekenhoutskloof is rightly regarded as one of South Africa's leading wineries, the only producer to be awarded 5-stars in Robert Parker's 7th Wine Buyers Guide. Chocolate Block's blend of Syrah, Grenache Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Viognier is matured in 600 litre barrels to retain the unmistakable fruit and freshness of the grapes. Aromas of spiced fruit and violet-infused perfume are followed by striking freshness on the firmly structured palate. Spicy oak aromas cover a rounded mid-palate that reveals layers of fruit with intense purity. Chocolate Block has excellent ageing potential and, once mature, will be the perfect accompaniment to rich, gamey dishes.
3. Chateau Mylord Rouge 2010
Ever since we shipped the 2009 vintage of Mylord, which Jim Nicholson described as simply the best value Bordeaux I have ever purchased, we have been selling it hand over fist, such is its delicious blackberry fruit and silky mouthfeel.
Top wine commentator Robert Parker agrees with Jim referring to Mylord's value for money in glowing terms It is an excellent example of how much bang one can get for the buck (eRobertParker.com, Apr 2010).
"A richly fruity, uncomplicated, consumer friendly Bordeaux that has garnered a lot of admirers over recent vintages (the 2005 was beautiful), this offering reveals loads of strawberry, black cherry and wild raspberry fruit intermixed with loamy soil notes, and virtually no oak. Supple and round, it is best consumed over the next 1-2 years. 85-87 pts." (eRobertParker.com, May 2012).
2. Altosur Malbec 2011
One of Nicholson's most popular wines, this beauty is crafted from Malbec grown at an altitude of 4000 feet, high in the Andes. The grapes are picked by hand before undergoing a rigorous selection process. The wine is aged in French and American oak barrels for three to four months. The finished product is an attractive red colour with violet hues. Aromas are primarily those of ripe fruit - cherries, blackberries, blueberries and fresh plums combined with spicy and floral hints. In the mouth, the sweet and round tannins lend elegance and balance. Ideal partner for any sort of rich meat dish.
And our most popular wine of 2012...
1. Forrest Heart of Stone Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Produced by renowned NZ winemaker Forrest Estate, this is probably JN's most popular Sauvignon. The wine is sourced from grapes grown in several distinctly different sites within Marlborough. Here the vines struggle for survival in ancient riverbed stones and gravel. the resultant crop amounting to only a handful of intensely flavoured grapes per vine. This is a vibrant wine with flavours of blackberry, gooseberry and passionfruit underscored by appetising, crisp acidity which produces a refreshing finish. Heart of Stone will partner white fish and salads to perfection.