New Zealand has long been famed for its stunning and unspoiled landscape. Equal to international acclaim for its beauty, is that for its fine wine climate, geography and human skill have combined to produce highly distinctive premium quality wines.
Let’s have a closer look at what makes New Zealand’s wine so special.
New Zealand has traditionally been a white wine producer, in particular, Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough which has been acclaimed throughout the world as the definitive benchmark style for the varietal. Nowhere else does Sauvignon Blanc yield such pungently aromatic and explosively flavored wine.
In a true temperate maritime climate style, the zesty character of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is redolent of green pepper and gooseberries with tropical fruit overtones. Nonetheless, New Zealand Sauvignon can be broadly divided into two styles; North island and South Island.
The North Island Sauvignon tends to be riper, richer with melon, nectarine and other stone fruit flavors. South Island Sauvignon Blanc is typically lighter and crisper with passion fruit and other pungent fruits, sometimes grassy flavors.
The climate is mostly responsible for the north-south style distinction. The longer, cooler growing conditions in South Island promotes stronger, more vibrant fruit flavors together with higher acidity levels.
The golden rule for Sauvignon Blanc when matching it with food is fresh is best. The vibrant flavors of Sauvignon Blanc enhance the delicacy of fresh seafood and summer salads. Although Sauvignon Blanc may be the grape variety most readily linked to New Zealand, global recognition for other premium varieties such as Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Cabernet- Merlot blends, has steadily increased over the years. This is one of the few countries where the fickle Pinot Noire grape is flourishing akin to the old world in their fine structure and elegance.
New Zealand Pinot Noirs deliver the excitement of the new world with pure power and intensity of fruits such as cherries, plums and juicy red berries. The rich and soft flavors of New Zealand Pinot Noir work perfectly with aromatic red meats such as venison, lamb and duck.
If you are planning for a wine trip in New Zealand, do not miss Marlborough in the South Island. It is the largest wine growing region, where it is easy to find great wines. The region is easy to reach by embarking on a ferry ride from Wellington to Picton in the South Island. Last but not least, don’t forget to drink in moderation!