For a small country, New Zealand has an impressive array of top quality wines that can rival that of any other country. They have been producing award-winning wines that are exported to cellars worldwide.
New Zealand lies between latitudes from the sub-tropical Northland, which is 36° S to the world’s most southerly grape growing region Central Otago, which is 46° S, making it the southernmost wine-producing nation in the world.
The balanced effect of the maritime climate with long sunshine hours and nights cooled by sea breezes provides vineyards great advantage in producing an extensive range of wines that New Zealand is famous for.
New Zealand wine is widely produced in ten major wine growing regions spread across the North and South Islands: Northland, Auckland, Waikato/Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Wellington, Nelson, Marlborough, Canterbury/Waipara and Central Otago.
WINE VARIETIES AND STYLE
SAUVIGNON BLANC: New Zealand is home to what many wine critics consider the world’s best Sauvignon Blanc. It is this variety that awoke the world to New Zealand wine. New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc displays distinctive gooseberry and nettle flavours. The Marlborough region represents 80% of all plantings of this style. North Island styles incline more on the soft, ripe, more tropical characters, whereas the South Island styles show crisper, and more exciting styles.
CHARDONNAY: New Zealand Chardonnay is commonly hand-picked, whole-bunch pressed and barrel-fermented. It is elegant with its balance of crisp acidity, minerality and fresh citrus flavours.
RIESLING: New Zealand Riesling ranges from bone dry and steely to luscious and sweet. It is naturally vibrant with a zesty acidity and is considered as the wine for Asian cuisine. The cooler South Island produces the majority of Riesling.
PINOT GRIS: New Zealand Pinot Gris is an intense pleasure as it is mouth-filling, rich and refreshing. The South Island produces 90% of this variety and undergoes a small amount of barrel ageing.
GEWÜRZTRAMINER: New Zealand Gewürztraminer is exceptionally fragrant, with rose petals, lychee, cinnamon and ginger characters commonly seen. It has a smooth texture and subtle acidity.
MERLOT & CABERNET SAUVIGNON BLENDS: Hawke’s Bay produces approximately 75% of this variety. It is known for being rich and well-structured, displaying a vibrant fruit expression. It is a superb food wine.
SYRAH: New Zealand Syrah possesses the characters of complex, spicy and supple with an elegant texture. Hawke’s Bay styles are known for their complexity and spicy aromatic flavours. Waiheke Island on the other hand provides a style that is rich in body with peppery characteristics.
PINOT NOIR: New Zealand Pinot Noir exhibits elegance. Unique regional styles are starting to emerge from New Zealand. The Wairarapa wines are intense with rich dark plum and chocolate essences. Marlborough and Nelson display complex, tight structure with perky cherry flavors. Waipara Pinot Noir displays traces of pepper and spice whilst Central Otago is identified for their herbal notes.
SPARKLING: New Zealand Sparkling wines are much-admired worldwide for its complexity and class. New Zealand Sparkling wines are a fantastic value-for-money alternative to Champagne. Marlborough produces the highest volume of Sparkling Wine, where the cool climate produces elegance and structure with spritely natural acidity. Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne creates classically weightier, richer wines. Wines from the North and South Islands are often fused to achieve richness and structure.