Value for money: 9/10 - when on offer
This refreshing New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is incredibly easy to drink. With flavours of ripe peach, limey citrus and a touch of sweetness it makes a great aperetif - no need for food.
Perfect with… on it’s own or with white fish.
Available for £6.66 reduced from 9.99 at Waitrose, although you could also pick it up at Ocado or Majestic.
This is a bright, clear pale intensity lemon-green colour wine with gray hues and some tears on the glass. Clean on the nose with medium+ intensity aromas displaying asparagus, grass, lime, green apple, pyrazine, green bell pepper, wet stones, elderflower, honeysuckle, and green pear. Fully developed. Dry on the palate with high acidity, medium+ alcohol, medium+ body and medium+ flavour intensity displaying asparagus, grass, lime, green apple, pyrazine, orange zest, wet stones, elderflower, honeysuckle, and pear. Medium+ length. Very good quality wine with good, evolving length, high fruit intensity and concentration, and some flavor complexity. The zesty acidity balances the generous fruit. Good to drink now, but could last 3-5 more years due to its acidity, this is a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand 2 years old. Great companion to most fish and white meat dishes!
New Zealand wines www.nzwine.com
This post is based on the relevant lecture given by Konstantinos Lazarakis MW at WSPC for the diploma level of WSET, the relevant study guide, Jancis Robinson’s “Oxford Companion to Wine” 3rd edition and various Internet sources (all referenced and linked to).
New Zealand http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_wine is a case that needs to be studied from anybody interested in the development of a premium, robust wine industry. With an overall small production and a less than 40 year history in wine production (from a location quite far from all major wine markets), it has managed to gain a significant place in the word’s export markets and make its products international brand names and of course produce delightful wines!!!
New Zealand is comprised of southern Pacific islands 1,600 km away from Australia, and has an agricultural economy that is far more dependent on sheep and dairy products than it is on wine. “Vines were first planted in 1819 but it took more than 150 years for New Zealanders to discover that their country’s cool, maritime climate was suitable for high-quality wine production. Although production is small by world standards (one-tenth of Australia’s relatively small wine output), vines are now grown on about 20,000 ha in 9 regions spanning 1,200 km, almost the full length of the country’s North and South Islands. The wine industry has experienced a roller-coaster ride during its relatively brief history. Nature has played a part in its fortunes, thanks to pests such as phylloxera and diseases such as powdery mildew, but government policy has had by far the most significant impact. Significant developments in wine quality include the era of New Zealand’s first government viticulturist, Romeo Bragato, who made improvements between 1895 and 1909 despite the ravages of phylloxera; the gradual replacement of american hybridswith European vinifera varieties from the late 1960s; the first vines planted in the Marlborough region in 1973; the founding of the official trade body the Wine Institute of New Zealand (now NZ Winegrowers) in 1975; the prohibition of wine dilution (as recently as 1983); and the Closer Economic Relations agreement with Australia which, from 1990, forced New Zealand winemakers to compete against wines imported from Australia without the protection of tariffs.”
New Zealand grows the world’s most southerly grapes (“if New Zealand were in the northern hemisphere, the country would stretch from North Africa to Paris but the moderating influence of the Gulf Stream on European vineyards results in hotter growing conditions than in the vineyards of equivalent southern latitudes”). New Zealand is a green and pleasant land thanks to an abundant rainfall throughout most of the country. “Plentiful rain promotes good pastures but it can have a negative effect on wine quality, particularly during the critical ripening period. Excessive moisture, through poorly drained soils or heavy rainfall, encourages leaf and shoot growth. Dense vine canopies tend to shade innermost leaves and grape bunches to produce green, herbaceous flavours, to delay ripening, and to promote fungal diseases. Excessive vine vigour was one of New Zealand’s major viticultural hindrances until Dr Richard Smart preached the gospel of canopy management during his tenure as government viticulturist between 1982 and 1990. As a result, many winemakers with vines that had produced excessively vegetal Cabernet Sauvignon reds and Sauvignon Blanc whites were able to make higher-quality wines within a single vintage of applying canopy management techniques.
Sauvignon Blanc, the variety for which New Zealand established an international reputation, is the country’s most planted variety with Chardonnay a distant second. Pinot Noir overtook Cabernet Sauvignon in 1997 to become the country’s most planted red variety, although a significant percentage of the Pinot Noir crop is destined for sparkling wine production. Plantings of Riesling, the sixth most planted variety, continue to grow slowly as the often slightly sweet and frequently very good wine made from it battles to lose its unfashionable image in the local market place.
The industry is dominated by Montana, the Villa Maria/Vidals/Esk Valley group, and the Nobilo Group, which is part of Constellation. Only the smaller wineries do not rely on fruit bought in from the country’s grape-growers although many do supplement their own grapes with grapes grown under contract.
Hawkes Bay http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawke%27s_Bay around the town of Napier is one of New Zealand’s older wine regions and certainly one of the best. Complex soil patterns and mesoclimates make it difficult to generalize about the wines of such a diverse region, particularly when they are made by such an eclectic group of winemakers. Situated on the east coast of the North Island, Hawkes Bay frequently records the country’s highest sunshine hours. A collective of local grape growers and winemakers has identified an approximate 800 ha of deep shingle soils as an ideal area for the production of high-quality wines, particularly Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. The defined area has been named Gimblett Gravels, a district name that now appears on some of Hawkes Bay’s better red wines.
Marlborough is the biggest of New Zealand’s http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_wine big three wine regions. Industry giant Montana planted the first vines in Marlborough when it established the South Island’s first commercial vineyard in 1973. At the time it seemed an enormous gamble but after the vines reached full production Montana’s investment returned a handsome dividend in terms of quality and profit. Other producers soon followed to establish wineries in the region or to secure a supply of grapes for the 18-hour journey north to Auckland or Gisborne. The single wine that put Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc on the international map was cloudy bay, in 1985. Since 1989, winemakers based outside the region have been able to use the services of a growing number of custom crush facilities to process grapes into juice or wine which can then be transported in bulk with less risk of extracting astringent phenolics from grape skins. The availability of contract wine-making facilities has encouraged an increasing number of vine-growers to process part or all of their crop into wine for sale under their own label.
Marlborough http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marlborough,_New_Zealand , at the north eastern tip of the South Island, consists of a large, flat, river valley with deep deposits of silt and gravel. A number of soil patterns are found throughout the valley and even within single vineyards, leading to significant variations in quality and style depending on the grape source. Shallow, stony soils, which aid drainage and limit fertility, are favoured for high-quality wine production. Surface boulders help reflect the sun’s rays and retain warmth during Marlborough’s cool, clear, summer nights. Irrigation is widely used throughout the valley to establish vines in the sometimes arid, free-draining soils and to relieve vine stress during the typically dry Marlborough summer. Many of Marlborough’s best wines are made from irrigated grapes, which, it is claimed, would have suffered a loss in quality if the vines were forced to rely on a natural supply of ground water. Since the temptation to over-irrigate is greater for contract grape-growers who are paid by the ton than for winemakers whose reputation relies on the quality of their wines, most wine producers try to build quality incentives into grape payments, but they acknowledge the difficulty involved in assessing grape quality. Grape sugars, acids, and even dry extract levels can be quantified, but all fail to distinguish grapes that can make good wine from those that have the potential to make truly great wine. It is undeniable that many of New Zealand’s best wines are made from grapes that are grown in winery-owned vineyards where the winemaker assumes total responsibility for wine quality.
Sauvignon Blanc is Marlborough’s http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marlborough,_New_Zealand best-known and most planted variety. These pungent, aromatic wines that blend tropical fruit flavours with gooseberry and capsicum herbaceousness are probably the closest thing that New Zealand http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_wine has to a national wine style.
Wairarapa, which includes the Martinborough region, is at the southern end of the North Island and might easily be considered a miniature Marlborough.
Canterbury http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canterbury_Region#Wine_regions_of_Canterbury , around Christchurch on the central east coast of the South Island, has three subregions: Waipara in North Canterbury, the plains west of Christchurch, and Banks Peninsula to the east of the city. The region is cool and dry with a moderate risk of October and April frosts. Low rainfall and light soils of moderate fertility help control vine vigour and canopy here. Viticultural research at Lincoln has had a considerable influence on selecting suitable vine varieties for the local growing conditions and in assisting local growers with viticultural techniques.
Central Otago http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Otago_Wine_Region grows New Zealand’s http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_wine , and the world’s, most southerly grapevines, some of them cultivated south of the 45thparallel. It is New Zealand’s only wine region with a continental climate, providing greater diurnal and seasonal temperature variability than any other. Most Central Otago vines are planted on hillside vineyards to give better sun exposure and reduce frost risk. No other New Zealand wine region is as dependent on a single grape variety. In 2006, Pinot Noir represents nearly 75 per cent of the region’s vines. The growth in vineyard area, and development of new districts within the larger region, have been extraordinary.”
Thanks for this detailed information about New Zealand Wine.
Gestern hatte ich das Vergnügen, das lange freie Osterwochenende mit diesem grandiosen Wein zu beginnen. Der Wein präsentiert sich im Glas mindestens so goldgelb wie der Hase, der ihm hier beim Foto zur Seite steht. Die Nase ist angenehm fruchtig, der Geschmack deutet zunächst eine starke Restsüße…
Festliche Momente mit Moet & Chandon Champagner genießen …
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