New Zealand

  • Monday, Day 28/09/2020
  • New Zealand landed firmly on the wine world map in 1985 with the release of the Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, a fine wine region at the north-eastern tip of the country's South Island. This variety is still the best-known and most widely planted grape here, transforming itself into densely aromatic wines which juxtapose tropical fruit with tart gooseberries. This style, which differs from the more "green" characters of Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire in France, is probably as close as New Zealand comes to having a national style.

    The region which has helped put New Zealand's red wine on the world map is the South Island's Central Otago, with its extensive plantings of Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir is a difficult grape to grow, and has seen very little success beyond France, except in Oregon (USA) and New Zealand. New Zealand Pinot does sometimes recall red Burgundy, being pale in colour and with just a hint of savoury. However, most labels from Central Otago tend to be at the voluptuous and intensely fruity end.

    Top-class Pinot Noir is also produced on North Island, in the Martinborough region, though on a far smaller scale than in Central Otago.

    Thanks to its cool climate, New Zealand is also making some excellent sparkling wine, usually a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.