Tag Archives: new zealand


    Beyond Marlborough Sauvignon

    Since the first commercial wines were released in the 1980s, New Zealand’s pungent, herbaceous, tangy, tropical-fruited style of sauvignon blanc has proven to be a smash hit, now accounting for three-quarters of NZ wine production and around 85% of wine exports - with the most famous and productive region, Marlborough, leading the charge.

    However, New Zealand is 1000 miles long with a latitude equivalent of Bordeaux to southern Spain, a diverse geography and geology (mountains, coast and volcanic plateaus), and a wide selection of grape varieties - so there’s plenty more here to be discovered.

    Central Otago is located in the south of south island. It’s the world’s most southerly wine region, plus New Zealand's highest altitude and most Continental (no vineyard here is more than 80 miles from the sea). Spectacularly beautiful - adorned with dramatic snow-capped mountains and blue lakes, this is also one of the world’s top spots for Pinot Noir, which thrives here. Relatively warm daytimes with high UV levels bestow the grapes with plenty of ripeness and flavour, which is locked in place by cool night temperatures - producing characterful wines full of vibrant ripe fruit flavours, depth and balancing acidity.

    I like the Mohua Pinot Noir 2014 from Peregrine wines, with lovely floral and fruity aromas and a juicy, quite rich, yet smooth palate where cherry and black fruit flavours combine with a savoury edge and a touch of spice - just the ticket for early summer drinking.

    'Central' also produces world-class chardonnay, and Carrick Chardonnay 2015 is a splendid example. Complex, elegant and fine. Deliciously ripe tropical fruit flavours and a lemon-like acidity are complemented by creamy, nutty notes and a lick of spice from fermentation and ageing in French oak. Classy and very much worth the money, it'll keep and develop in bottle over a couple of years, too.

    Around the art-deco Mecca of Napier in north-island is NZ’s oldest and second largest wine region, Hawke’s Bay. A relatively large and diverse area, but perhaps best known for its age-worthy red blends made with classic Bordeaux grapes. The Crossroads Winemaker’s Selection Cabernet/Merlot 2011 uses top fruit from the acclaimed Gimblett Gravels sub-region. Yes, it’s big and pretty concentrated - but not heavy. Juicy blackcurrants and plums supported by a toasty complexity from French oak barrels. This would be perfect with roast lamb/beef or a juicy steak.

    The superb Man ‘O’ War Dreadnought Syrah 2013 hails from another large and diverse wine region surrounding NZ’s largest city, Auckland. It’s a warm and relatively humid here, but Dreadnought is produced a short boat ride away from the mainland on the winemaking island of Waiheke, where the climate is drier and the warmth is tempered by the cooling effects of the sea. This stellar Rhone-style syrah had me at first sip. Concentrated and rich, yet elegant, fine and balanced with a mineral touch. The seductive smoky and meaty/savoury characters mingle with blueberries, blackberries and black pepper spice. Awesome and age-worthy - if you can keep your hands off it.

    Tristan is hosting a NZ tasting on 14th June at Great Western Wine - tickets £15: Click here to book now >

    - By Tristan Darby - Bath Magazine -

  • Alan's Wine of the Week

    Carrick Chardonnay Central Otago 2012

    Wine of the Week: Carrick Chardonnay

    “The ripe Chardonnay grapes were hand harvested from Carrick’s Cairnmuir Road vineyard in the cool climate region of Central Otago; the wine was then aged in French oak barriques to give a Burgundian style richness and complexity. There are tropical fruit flavours of pineapple and guava along with a crisp lemony acidity and streak of sophisticated minerality - this is a truly amazing Chardonnay that could rival anything else in the world.”

    Carrick Chardonnay Central Otago 2012

    Was £16.95  Now £14.92

    Prices above are valid from 01.04.15 to 30.04.15

    Free delivery over £100  |   5% off 6 bottles   |   10% off 12 bottles

  • Thinking about jumping the Sauvignon ship?

    Here are 3 New Zealand wines that are quietly making waves - ready for you to discover. Well, It is Waitangi day after all...

    Yealands - New Zealand Producer

    In the 1990s, there was just one grape, and that was Chardonnay.

    Of course that isn’t true, but according to the millions of new, upwardly mobile, Bridget Jones-reading wine drinkers, it was the lifestyle choice.

    Tastes inevitably change, and within a few years the bubble had burst. Chardonnay was frowned upon, detested by those who once craved its rich, peach, pineapple and vanilla flavours. Chardonnay was forced to walk the plank.

    It wasn’t long before our new favourite wine began to surface. This one had an equally distinctive style, but one with a bold, grassy character and crisp, mouthwatering acidity.

    And so the Sauvignon Blanc ship set sail - only recently challenged by the oceans of Pinot Grigio lapping at the shores.

    But is there really a need to jump the Sauvignon ship, especially when the quality is this good?

    It’s tempting to stick to a drink you love: You know what you’re getting, and this brings comfort and reassurance. But if you do fancy a change, why not use Sauvignon Blanc as the spring board to broaden your wine horizons? New Zealand has made its name producing great value, fresh Sauvignon, but there is a world of delicious white wines out there, just waiting to be discovered.

    Yealands Estate Gruner Veltliner, Awatere

    Yealands makes amazing Sauvignon Blanc - fact. But they are also renowned for producing other aromatic varieties that will have you wishing you’d tried them earlier. If you fancy something that is a nice halfway house between Sauvignon and Pinot Grigio, then why not opt for Gruner Veltliner? It has the crispness of Sauvignon without the overt gooseberry aromas, introducing a pear-like roundness to the palate, along with hints of dill.
    This native Austrian grape has found a home here in New Zealand, especially in Awatere Valley, part of the world famous Marlborough region. Yealands Estate Gruner Veltliner 2013 has great purity of fruit, with orange and lime citrus and a hint of peach.


    Yealands Estate Riesling

    Another unfashionable grape is our dear friend, Riesling. Yealands make a crisp, refreshing version with hints of green apple and lime citrus, balanced by a touch of ripe melon. The Yealands Estate Riesling 2011 won a silver medal at last year’s Decanter World Wine Awards, so give it a try if you’re searching for the perfect accompaniment for Thai-spiced dishes or seafood.

    Carrick Chardonnay Central Otago

    Rather than sink without a trace, Chardonnay is back with its head well above water – this time made in a far more modern style that walks the line between hints of golden richness and a crisp, appley minerality. The wines are no longer one dimensional oaky beasts – there are layers of complexity here, but, above all, heaps of enjoyment.

    Try Carrick Chardonnay 2012 – made in New Zealand’s Pinot Noir country, Central Otago. This wine has hints of oak, but good quality French oak, and that’s what makes all the difference. The oak plays a supporting role against the star performer; the thirst-quenching cool climate New Zealand fruit.

    Have a happy Waitangi day!

    By Chris Penwarden


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