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In an average year, Michael Cooper tastes around 3,000 wines and his wealth of knowledge has earned him the position of New Zealand’s most acclaimed wine writer. Join this site to take advantage of Michael’s expert advice, reviews and best buy recommendations.


Best Buy

Catalina Sounds Marlborough Pinot Noir 2020

Catalina Sounds Marlborough Pinot Noir 2020

This top value red was grown at four sites in the Waihopai Valley (42 per cent), Awatere Valley (36 per cent) and central Wairau Valley (22 per cent), and matured for nearly a year in French oak barriques (15–20 per cent new). Full, bright ruby, it is mouthfilling, youthful and vibrantly fruity, with concentrated, ripe cherry, plum and spice flavours, a subtle seasoning of oak adding complexity, fresh acidity and supple tannins. A refined, generous and savoury red, it should be at its best 2023+.
Number of Stars:
4.5
Price:
NZ$27.00
Variety:
Pinot Noir
Vintage:
2020

Treat Yourself

The Hunting Lodge Waikoukou Home Block Waimauku Wild Ferment Sauvignon Blanc 2020

The Hunting Lodge Waikoukou Home Block Waimauku Wild Ferment Sauvignon Blanc 2020

Estate-grown in West Auckland, this classy wine was hand-harvested (from vines mostly planted in 2008, but dating back to 1979), and fermented and lees-aged for eight months in French oak barriques (25 per cent new). Bright, light yellow/green, it is mouthfilling, fleshy and sweet-fruited, with youthful, concentrated, tropical fruit flavours, showing impressive complexity, balanced acidity and a dry (2 grams/litre of residual sugar), rich finish. Best drinking mid-2022+.

Number of Stars:
5
Price:
NZ$33.00
Variety:
Sauvignon Blanc
Vintage:
2020

Reviews of the latest editions 

“Want to find a good New Zealand wine?  You’d be hard-pressed to go past New Zealand Wines 2020: Michael Cooper’s Buyer’s Guide.” Emma Jenkins, Winestate

“For anybody who is interested in New Zealand wine, it doesn’t come any better.  A great book – it always is.”  Leighton Smith 

“Michael has a lovely, laid-back tasting notes style that doesn’t scream at you.  A very reliable taster.”  Caro’s Wine Merchants

“So when Cooper says a wine is great – and great value – you sit up and listen.” – Josie Steenhart, Stuff

“[Michael Cooper is] New Zealand’s leading consumer advocate in wine.”  Allan Scott, Marlborough Man  

“The softcover book that first made its presence felt in 1992 has become somewhat of a bible for wine lovers here at home and, more recently via his website, overseas.”  Tessa Nicholson, New Zealand Winegrower

“… the Gandalf of New Zealand wine critics, Michael Cooper…” Yvonne Lorkin, Canvas, New Zealand Herald

“Michael is deeply entrenched in the landscape of New Zealand wine… We consider his extensive knowledge and long experience vital as a benchmark tool when reflecting on our wines.”  Dry River