It was its amazing sauvignon blanc that first put New Zealand on the world wine map. But that was some time back. And after tasting more than 500 wines on a week-long trip to the island nation, James Suckling and his team found great depth across a wide range of styles, marking a significant diversification of interest for collectors and drinkers. Here are the 10 wines they judged the best of 2017.

Trinity Hill Syrah Hawkes Bay Homage 2015

A superb wine. Possibly the greatest expression of syrah that New Zealand has produced. The level of complexity and concentration, the layering of flavours and textures, the length of tannins—there is so much to admire. Fruits are in the raspberry, red plum and blackberry spectrum, doused in pepper and every imaginable woody spice. Hints of chocolate, too. A thrilling and vibrant syrah. 99 points

Felton Road Pinot Noir Central Otago Block 5 2016

A powerhouse with grand cru-like poise, this edition has plenty of charm. Aromas of red cherry, nori, forest wood and herbs, as well as a stony edge. The palate has a smooth surface layer of fine, plush tannins across a deeper inner core, and a long serve of fresh, ripe red berry and cherry. A magnificent, long and precise finish. A seamless wine. Drink now and for some years to come. Screw cap. 98 points

Bell Hill Pinot Noir Waikari 2014

The sense of majesty is irresistible. A wealth of beautifully interwoven ripe red cherry, redcurrant, blueberry and red plum is dressed in cooler herbal accents and framed in spicy, well-chosen oak. The palate has almost unending length delivered in an elegant, flawless run of fine tannins. The purity of fruit shines through. Brilliant wine. Drink now and for some years to come. Screw cap. 98 points

Rippon Pinot Noir Central Otago Tinker’s Field 2014

A spicier, more fragrant and more graphite-infused pinot noir that has impressive deep dark cherry and plum that sit in a very pure, fresh and powerful stance. The tannins are commanding—they clutch long and hold firm. The dark cherry and plum flavours are striking—so long, fresh and pure. This is profound pinot noir. 98 points

Ata Rangi Pinot Noir Martinborough 2016

This has all the cherry, spice and perfume that define a consistently stunning pinot noir, as well as a sense of immense freshness. The palate has deceptive lightness and tannins that are supple and caressing. Succulent and elegant. A great vintage for this wine. Drink now. Screw cap. 98 points

Fromm Winery Pinot Noir Marlborough Clayvin Vineyard 2015

The darker hue heralds pristine ripe purple cherry, raspberry and mulberry sitting in an attractive pose with gentle oak spices. The palate has superb depth and detail. A super wine that marries power with elegance. A low-pH vintage. This is a New Zealand benchmark. Drink from 2020 to 2030. 97 points

Bilancia Syrah Hawkes Bay La Collina 2015

Slick and polished with superb fresh fruit in the blackberry and red plum spectrum dusted with peppery aromas and spicy mocha-scented oak. Hints of graphite-like dark stone. The palate runs a deep line of flavours, and tannins draw long with a sense of purpose and depth. Succulent, lithe and juicy finish. Best from 2021 and for years after that. Screw cap. 97 points

Bell Hill Chardonnay Canterbury Bell Hill 2014

This has cleverly played winemaking influence and oak cask against concentrated lemon-grapefruit citrus as well as yellow nectarine and flinty, stony notes. The palate has plenty of power and depth, with intense pithy citrus fruit, lemon curd flavours and some warmer toasty oak built into the long finish. Drink now. Screw cap. 97 points

Escarpment Pinot Noir Martinborough Te Rehua 2015

A dark and brooding pinot noir with big, swarthy tannins. Dark cherry and dark violet-like florals, toasted spices and dark herbal notes, too. The palate has a smooth shell-like outer, opening to powerful, succulent tannins that really command. A concentrated Te Rehua, this is one of the best to date. Drink from 2020. Screw cap. 97 points

Pyramid Valley Pinot Noir Canterbury Angel Flower 2015

Spectacular. Entrancing fragrance and weightlessness but it delivers purpose and power. With vibrant red cherry, it smells fresh and mouthwatering, with hints of rosehip and pomegranate, underlying spices and background foresty notes of wood and earth. It delivers a smooth-wrapped ball of red cherry flavour into the middle of the palate and unfolds in all directions. Expansive, velvety and supple, it opens like a flower. Drink now. 97 points