New Zealand Red Wine

It is important to bear in mind that while New Zealand is still comparatively in its infancy as a wine producing country the wine industry is both dynamic and self-questioning. The vines are still very young and the resulting wines, although they can exhibit an exhilarating freshness of fruit, rarely have the finesse and complexity associated with terroir. This is changing; low yields and marginal climates keep the wines honest. The
choice of grape varieties is important: New Zealand has coasted on its ludicrously over-inflated reputation for Sauvignon. To be taken seriously, however, you have to master the red grape varieties, and we now judge New Zealand especially in relation to other countries in its holy quest for the Pinot grail.  Of all the regions in New Zealand Martinborough is producing the most world-class wines at present, although quantities are small and prices are scary. Here be great Pinot Noir and good Chardonnay.  Hawkes Bay works well for the Cabernet blends and the surprisingly rarely planted Syrah. Central Otago evidently has a future for Pinot Noir and possibly Riesling and Pinot Gris. Marlborough (the biggest area of production) is already renowned for the ubiquitous Sauvignon and other grape varieties are showing promise. Waipara's (Canterbury) superb Burgundian terroir make it ideal for world-class Pinot and Chardonnay.

 

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